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/TAf  Story  of  The  Great  War 

:    History  of  the  European 
War   from   Official  Sources 


T'refaced  by 










^f  fdited  by 


Former  Reference  Librarian  of  Congress  iissociate  Editor,  The  New  International  Encyclopedia 


Editor  in  Chief,  Photographic  History  of  the  Civil  War 

O     L     L     I     E     R 

NEW      YORK 

O     N 



C^K!{-'^^  WAR 

■     i'  i-v  L  Hj  jM  i   O     ' 

•  AT:F^       ITALY 
A  great  war  Zeppelin  on  a  bomb-dropping  expedition  is  sailing 
over  an  enemy  city.    High  above  it  are  the  city's  defending  air- 
craft— a  biplane  and  a  monoplane — ready  to  attack  the  raider 
with  their  machine  guns 






COLLIER   y   SON    •   NEW   YORK 

Copyright  1916 
By  p.  F,  Coixier  &  Sow 






























Campaign  in  the  Caucasus 9 

Turkish  Advance  Against  Egypt 15 

Failure  of  "Holy  War"  Propaganda  .......  21 

Results  of  First  Six  Months  of  Turkish  Campaign     .  25 

The  Dardanelles — Strategy  of  the  Campaign  ....  27 

Fortifications  and  Strength — First  Movements  ...  34 


Why  Japan  Joined  the  Allies 40 

Military  and  Naval  Situation  in  the  Far  East  ...  46 

Beginning  of  Hostilities — Attacks  on  Tsing-tau  Forts  .  52 

Capture  of  Tsing-tau 60 


Campaign  in  Togoland  and  the  Cameroons     ....  62 
German  Southwest  Africa — Rebellion  in  Union  of  South 

Africa 68 


Preparations  for  an  Offensive 79 

Battle  of  Neuve  Chapelle  Begins 83 

Operations  Following  Neuve  Chapelle 92 

Beginning  of  Second  Battle  of  Ypres 99 

The  Struggle  Renewed 106 

Other  Actions  on  the  Western  Front 115 

Campaign  in  Artois  Region 121 

British  Forward  Movement — Battle  of  Festubert   .     .  128 

Sir  John  French  Attempts  a  Surprise 134 

Attacks  at  La  Bassee 140 

Operations  Around  Hooge 146 

Franco-German  Operations  Along  the  Front  ....  151 

Campaign  in  Argon ne  and  Around  Arras 158 

Belgo-German  Operations 166 





XXVII.    The  Wak  Zone 170 

XXVIII.    Attack  on  the  Dardanelles 174 

XXIX.    German  Raiders  and  Submarines 179 

XXX.    Italian  Participation—Operations  in  Many  Waters  .  186 

XXXI.    Story  of  the  Emden 193 

XXXII.    Summary  op  the  First  Year  of  Naval  Warfare  .     .  206 

XXXIII.  Fights  of  the  Submarines 209 

XXXIV.  Sinking  op  the  Lusitania 222 


XXXV.    The  Carpathian  Campaign — Review  op  the  Situation  .  235 

XXXVI.    Battle  of  the  Passes 241 

XXXVII.    Battle  of  Koziowa — Operations  in  the  Bukowina  .     .  244 

XXXVIII.    Fall  of  Przemysl 249 

XXXIX.    New  Russian  Offensive  —  Austro  -  German  Counter- 
offensive   258 

XL.    Campaign  in  Galicia  and  Bukowina — Battle  op  thb 


XLI.    Russian  Retreat 276 

XLII.    Austro-German  Reconquest  op  Western  Galicia  .     .  281 

XLIII.    Campaign  in  Eastern  Galicia  and  the  Bukowina  .     .  289 

XLIV.    Russian  Change  of  Front — Retreat  to  the  San  .     .  293 

XLV.    Battle  of  the  San 297 

XLVI.    Recapture  of  Przemysl .  301 

XLVII.    Capture  of  Lemberg 306 


XLVIII.    Winter  Battles  of  the  Mazurian  Lakes 313 

XLIX.    The  Russians  Out  of  Germany 317 

L.    Tightening  op  the  Net — Report  of  the  Booty  .     .     .  319 

LI.    Battles  of  Przasnysz — Before  Mlawa 324 

LII.    Fighting  Before  the  Niemen  and  Bobr — Bombardment 


LIII.    Russian  Raid  on  Memel 334 

LIV.    German  Invasion  op  Courland — Capture  of  Libau  .     .  337 
LV.    Russian  Offensive  from  Kovno  —  Forest  Battles  in 

May  and  June 342 





LVI.    Campaign  in  Southern  Poland — Movement  upon  War- 
saw        345 

LVII.    Battle  op  Krasnik — Capture  of  Przasnysz  ....  348 

LVIII.    Grand  Offensive  on  the  Warsaw  Salient    ....  356 

LIX.    Beginning  of  the  End 361 

LX.    Warsaw  Falls 366 


LXI.    Diplomacy  in  the  Balkans 369 


LXIl.    Spirit  of  the  Italian  People — Crisis  of  the  Government  379 

LXIII.    The  Decision  Made — Italian  Strategy 382 

LXIV.    Strength  of  Italian  Army  and  Navy  ......  388 

LXV.    First   Engagemi^nts 392 

LXVI.    Fighting  in  the  Mountains 402 

LXVII.    Attacks  in  Gorizia 408 

LXVIII.    Fighting  in  the  Alps — Italian  Successes      ....  416 

LXIX.    More  Mountain  Fighting — Results  of  First  Campaign  419 


LXX.    Beginning  of  Operations 423 

LXXI.    Preparations  for  Landing — Composition  of  Forces      .  429 

LXXII.    Plans  of  Sir  Ian  Hamilton — First  Landing  Made  .     .  437 

LXXIII.    The  British  in  Danger — Bitter  Fighting      ....  446 

LXXIV.    Further  Efforts  at  Landing — Failure  to  Take  Krithia  454 

LXXV.    Krithia  Again  Attacked — Heroic  Work  of  "Anzacs"  .  459 

LXXVI.    Russo-Turkish   Operations .469 


LXXVII.    The  Cameroons        481 

LXXVIII.    British  Conquest  op  Southwest  Africa 484 

LXXIX.    Other  African  Operations 493 


LXXX.    Mesopotamia  and  Arabia 497 

LXXXL    Syria  and  Egypt 503 


Zeppelin  Attacked  by  Aeroplanes Frontispiece 


Belgians  Re-forming  for  a  Fresh  Attack 78 

Prayer  in  a  French  Church  Used  for  a  Hospital 158 

Great  Liner  Lusitania 222 

Grand  Duke  Nicholas 270 

Triumphal  Entry  of  Austrians  into  Przemysl  ......  302 

Prince  Leopold  of  Bavaria  in  Warsaw 366 

Cloud  op  Poisonous  Gas  Released  by  Italian  Troops  ....  414 

Stores  at  Suvla  Bay,  Gallipoli 462 



Strategic  Railway  System  in   Eastern   Germany  Which   Made 

Quick  Concentration  Possible  {Colored  Map)  .     .     .     Front  Insert 

Gallipoli 29 

KlAO-CHAU    (TSING-TAU) • 43 

German  Possessions  in  Africa 65 

Western  Battle  Line,  January  1,  1915 81 

Neuve  Chapelle,  Battle  at     ... 88 

Yfres,  Gas  Battle  of 113 

Fighting  in  Alsace-Hartmannsweilerkopf 119 

Artois,    Battles   in 126 

German  Submarine  War  Zone 172 

Emden  Landing  Party,  Cruise  of 195 

Carpathian  Passes  and  Russian  Battle  Line 237 

PRZEMYSL,  Detail  Maps  of  the  Forts  of 248 

Galician  Campaign  from  Tarnow  to  Przemysl 279 

Galician  Campaign  from  Przemysl  to  Bessarabia 291 

Riga,  German  Advance  on 338 

Warsaw,  German  Attempts  to  Reach,  in  1914 358 

Warsaw,  Advance  and  Capture  of 367 

Coasts    of    Italy   and    Austria,    Showing   the    Naval    Raid   in 

May,  1915 395 

A-ustria,   Italian  Attack  on 410 

Dardanelles,    Pictorial    Map   of,    Showing    Where   the   Allies 

Landed 439 

German  Southwest  Africa,  Conquest  of 491 

Mesopotamia — The  British  Operations  from  the  Persian  Gulf  .  499 

Suez  Canal,  Turkish  Attack  on  .     . 506 




DISQUIETING  as  was  the  British  offensive  in  Mesopotamia, 
the  Turkish  General  Staff  were  not  to  be  drawn  by  it  from 
considerations  of  larger  strategy.  Acting  in  agreement  with  the 
German  and  Austrian  General  Staffs,  plans  were  rapidly  pushed 
for  an  aggressive  offensive  in  the  Caucasus,  that  old-time  battling 
ground  of  the  Russians  and  the  Turks.  Germany  was  being  hotly 
pressed  in  France  by  the  armies  of  Belgium,  France,  and  Eng- 
land, and  feared  an  offensive  on  the  part  of  the  Russian 

Across  the  great  isthmus  separating  the  Caspian  and  Black 
Seas  run  the  Caucasus  Mountains.  Parallel  to  this  range  of 
towering  mountains,  the  highest  in  Europe,  runs  the  frontier 
line  of  Russia  and  Turkey  and  Russia  and  Persia,  winding  in 
and  out  among  the  Trans-Caucasian  Mountains.  About  two 
hundred  miles  from  the  Russo-Turkish  frontier  stands  Tifiis,  the 
rich  and  ancient  capital  of  Georgia,  and  one  of  the  prime  ob- 
jectives of  any  Turkish  offensive.  One  of  the  few  railroads  of 
this  wild  country  runs  from  Tifiis  through  the  Russian  fortress  of 
Kars,  forty-five  miles  from  the  Turkish  frontier,  to  Sarikamish, 
thirty  miles  nearer.  On  the  Turkish  side  the  fortress  of  Erzerum 
stands  opposed  to  Kars,  but  suffering  in  comparison  by  the  lack 
of  railroad  communication  with  the  interior  of  Turkey. 

Despite  all  these  discouraging  circumstances,  however,  the 
Turkish  General  Staff,  dominated  by  the  indefatigable  and  am- 
bitious Enver  Pasha,  was  not  to  be  deterred.    A  brilliant  and 


10  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

daring  plan  of  campaign,  aiming  at  the  annihilation  or  capture 
of  the  entire  Russian  Caucasian  army,  the  seizure,  of  Kars  and 
Tiflis,  and  the  control  of  the  immensely  valuable  and  important 
Caspian  oil  fields,  was  prepared.  The  unwelcome  task  of  carry- 
ing this  plan  to  completion  and  success  was  intrusted  to  Hassan 
Izzet  Pasha,  under  the  general  guidance  of  Enver  Pasha  and  his 
staff  of  German  advisers. 

The  heroic  efforts  of  the  Turkish  troops,  their  grim  but  hope- 
less battle  against  equally  brave  troops,  appalling  weather  con- 
ditions, and  insuperable  obstacles,  their  failure  and  defeat  when 
on  the  very  verge  of  complete  success,  make  an  intensely  inter- 
esting story. 

Stationed  at  Erzerum,  Turkey  had  the  Ninth,  Tenth,  and 
Eleventh  Corps.  In  addition,  the  Thirty-seventh  Arab  division 
had  been  brought  up  from  Bagdad  to  strengthen  the  Eleventh 
Corps.  At  Trebizond  two  divisions  of  the  First  Corps  had  been 
brought  from  Constantinople  by  sea.  These  forces  totaled  about 
140,000  troops.  At  and  about  Kars,  General  Woronzov,  the  Rus- 
sian commander,  had  between  100,000  and  110,000  troops  at  his 
disposal  from  first  to  last.  But  although  weaker  in  numbers  he 
had  the  inestimable  advantage  of  operating  with  a  line  of  rail- 
road at  his  back,  whereas  the  Turkish  commander  had  to  depend 
entirely  upon  road  transit,  500  miles  from  the  nearest  railroad. 

The  conditions  absolutely  necessary  for  the  success  of  the 
Turkish  plan  were  the  holding  of  the  Russian  force  beyond 
Sarikamish,  and  the  accurate  timing  of  the  flanking  attacks, 
otherwise  the  Russian  commander  would  be  able  to  deal  with 
each  force  separately  and  defeat  and  perhaps  destroy  them. 

The  campaign  opened  on  November  20,  1914.  The  Russians, 
advancing  across  the  frontier  from  Sarikamish,  took  Koprikeui, 
within  thirty  miles  of  Erzerum.  There,  for  some  time,  they  re- 
mained while  the  Turkish  command  prepared  for  their  great 

About  the  middle  of  December,  1914,  the  Eleventh  Corps  of  the 
Turkish  army  moved  out  of  Erzerum,  engaged  the  Russians  at 
Koprikeui,  defeated  them  after  a  short,  sharp  struggle,  and  drove 
them  in  disorder  a  dozen  miles  to  Khorasan.    While  the  Eleventh 


Corps  was  thus  engaged  the  Ninth  and  Tenth  Corps,  marching 
forty  miles  to  the  north  in  terrible  weather,  succeeded  in  cross'' 
ing  the  high  mountains  that  guard  the  Russian  frontier.  On 
Christmas  Day  they  looked  down  on  the  town  of  Sarikamish  and 
the  vital  railway  that  stretched  away  to  the  eastward.  At  the 
same  time  the  two  divisions  of  the  First  Corps,  stationed  at  Trebi- 
zond,  making  a  wider  sweep,  had,  by  forced  marches  through 
a  blinding  blizzard  that  threatened  to  make  necessary  the  aban- 
donment of  the  artillery,  reached  the  vicinity  of  Ardahan. 

The  Tenth  Corps  had  reached  and  was  threatening  the  railway 
east  of  Sarikamish  on  the  road  to  Kars.  Its  defeat  was  absolutely 
necessary  to  the  safety  of  the  Russian  army.  It  was  therefore 
the  object  of  General  Woronzov's  first  attack.  During  four  days 
every  available  man  and  gun  he  could  bring  up  on  the  railway 
were  thrown  against  the  rapidly  dwindling  ranks  of  the  Tenth 
Corps.  The  Turks  fought  bravely,  but  weight  of  numbers  and 
superiority  of  communications  told  in  the  end,  and  the  Ottoman 
forces  were  driven  into  the  mountains  to  the  north. 

The  defeat  and  retreat  of  the  Tenth  Corps  exposed  the  left 
flank  of  the  Ninth,  commanded  by  Iskan  Pasha.  General 
Woronzov  took  full  advantage  of  the  situation.  Iskan  and  his 
40,000  troops  were  soon  fighting  a  desperate  battle  against  an 
enveloping  movement  that  threatened  to  encompass  them. 

Of  the  40,000  troops  of  the  Ninth  Corps,  a  bare  6,000  struggled 
out  of  the  mountains  to  the  vicinity  of  Sarikamish,  where  they 
were  rallied  by  Iskan  Pasha.  For  six  days  and  nights  this  heroic 
band  made  a  determined  attempt  to  capture  the  town  held  by  a 
comparatively  weak  Russian  garrison.  Finally,  when,  sur- 
rounded by  overwhelming  Russian  forces,  it  became  apparent 
that  no  Turkish  relief  could  reach  him,  Iskan  Pasha  and  the 
remnant  of  his  once  proud  corps  surrendered. 

Sarikamish  was  defended  against  Iskan's  6,000  by  a  mere 
handful  of  soldiers.  Time  and  time  again  urged  by  their  German 
officers,  the  Turks  hurled  themselves  against  the  thin  Russian 
line.  It  bent  but  did  not  break,  as  step  by  step,  fighting  fiercely 
all  the  way,  it  retreated  before  weight  of  numbers.  And  when 
relief  did  come  to  the  defenders,  and  Iskan  and  his  force  were 

12  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

compelled  to  surrender,  the  brave  little  Russian  band  was  com- 
pletely exhausted. 

In  their  pursuit  of  the  remnants  of  the  Tenth  Corps  the  Rus- 
sians met  with  some  of  the  difficulties  that  had  been  the  undoing 
of  the  Turks.  Furthermore,  although  the  Ninth  Corps  had  been 
hemmed  in  so  that  no  relief  could  reach  it,  the  Turkish  command 
had  by  no  means  lost  the  power  of  effective  counteraction.  The 
Eleventh  Corps  at  Khorasan  carried  on  an  energetic  campaign 
against  the  Russian  front,  gained  a  local  and  tactically  important 
success,  and  drove  the  enemy  back  as  far  as  Kara-Urgan,  less 
than  twenty  miles  from  Sarikamish.  Indeed,  so  serious  became 
the  threat  to  the  Russian  forces  that  General  Woronzov,  much 
against  his  wishes,  was  compelled  to  call  off  the  pursuit  of  the 
Tenth  Corps  and  strengthen  the  Sarikamish  front  with  the, 
troops  that  had  been  operating  farther  to  the  east. 

In  the  second  week  of  January,  1915,  between  these  forces  and 
the  Eleventh  Corps  of  the  Turkish  army  a  fierce  battle,  lasting 
several  days,  opened.  The  struggle  was  of  the  utmost  intensity, 
at  times  developing  into  a  hand-to-hand  combat  between  whole 
regiments.  On  January  14  the  Fifty-second  Turkish  Regi- 
ment was  put  to  the  bayonet  by  the  Russians.  At  Genikoi  a 
regiment  of  Cossacks  charged,  during  an  engagement  with  a 
portion  of  the  Thirty-second  Turkish  Division,  and  killed  and 
wounded  more  than  300. 

It  must  be  remembered  in  judging  the  terrible  nature  of  the 
struggle  that  the  armies  were  fighting  in  difficult  country.  The 
battle  of  Kara-Urgan,  furthermore,  was  waged  in  a  continual 
snowstorm.  Thousands  of  dead  and  wounded  were  buried  in 
the  rapidly  falling  snow  and  no  effort  was  made  to  recover  them. 
By  the  end  of  this  week,  January  16,  1915,  owing  largely  to  their 
superior  railway  communications  and  the  possibility  of  reen- 
forcements,  the  Russians  had  not  only  checked  the  Turkish  offen- 
sive, but  had  decisively  defeated  the  Eleventh  Corps.  Pressing 
their  advantage  the  Russians  pursued  the  beaten  Turks  towarc^ 
Erzerum,  but  the  heavy  snows  prevented  them  gaining  the  fuL 
fruits  of  their  victory. 

If  the  Eleventh  Corps  had  not  won  a  victory  it  had,  however, 


accomplished  its  object  in  that  it  had  relieved  the  pressure  on 
the  Tenth  and  enabled  it  to  make  good  its  escape  to  the  north, 
where  it  proceeded  to  effect  a  junction  with  the  First  Corps. 
The  experience  of  this  First  Corps  had  not  been  a  happy  one. 
We  left  it  on  Christmas  Day,  1914,  overlooking  Ardahan.  A 
week  later  it  entered  the  city  and  prepared  to  carry  out  its  role 
in  the  general  offensive  by  advancing  upon  the  Russian  right 
flank  at  Kars.  It  met  serious  opposition,  however,  when  it 
attempted  to  move  out  of  Ardahan,  was  itself  compelled  to 
retreat,  and  finally  sought  safety  beyond  the  ridges  to  the  west. 
There,  in  the  valley  of  the  Chorfik,  it  joined  up  with  the  Tenth 
Corps.  Together  they  continued  their  retreat  upon  Trebizond. 
Subsequently  they  tried  a  new  offensive  in  the  Choruk  valley 
which  was  undecisive,  however,  and  at  the  end  of  January,  1914, 
the  situation  had  developed  into  a  deadlock. 

The  Turkish  troops  in  their  operation  in  the  Caucasus  ap- 
peared to  have  suffered  from  the  difficulty  of  keeping  open  their 
sea  communications  with  Constantinople.  Lacking  railways 
they  relied  too  much  upon  supplies  arriving  at  Trebizond.  The 
Russian  fleet  in  the  Black  Sea  was  active,  however,  and 
upset  the  Turkish  calculations.  In  the  first  week  of  January, 
1915,  at  Sinope  a  Russian  cruiser  discovered  the  Turkish 
cruiser  Medjidieh  convoying  a  transport.  After  a  short  en- 
gagement the  Medjidieh  was  put  to  flight,  and  the  trans- 
port sunk. 

On  January  6,  1915,  the  Russian  Black  Sea  fleet  ran  into  the 
Breslau  and  the  Hamidieh  and  damaged  them  both  in  a  running 
fight.  A  week  later  Russian  torpedo  boats  sank  several  Turkisl^ 
supply  boats  near  Sinope. 

While  this  fighting  was  taking  place  in  the  north,  farthef 
to  the  south  toward  the  Persian  frontier  the  Russians  were 
attempting  a  turning  movement  against  the  Turkish  right  flank. 
At  the  same  time  that  the  Russian  force  in  the  north  crossed 
the  Turkish  frontier  the  Russian  column  entered  Turkey  fifty 
miles  farther  southeast.  On  November  8,  1914,  this  force  en- 
tered the  Turkish  town  of  Kara  Kilissa.  A  week  later,  making 
its  way  southwest  for  a  distance  of  twenty  miles,  it  engaged. 

14  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

near  the  village  of  Dutukht,  a  Turkish  force  composed  largely 
of  Arab  troops  of  the  Thirteenth  Corps.  At  the  outset  the 
Russians  met  with  a  measure  of  success,  but  on  November  22, 
1914,  the  Turks,  having  been  reenforced  by  troops  from  Bagdad, 
began  a  fierce  offensive.  After  indecisive  fighting  in  the  Alash- 
gird  valley  the  Turks,  about  the  middle  of  December,  1914, 
almost  caught  the  Russians  in  a  bold  enveloping  movement 
north  of  Dutukht.  In  order  to  escape  the  Russians  were  com- 
pelled to  retreat  hurriedly  and  thus  ended  their  offensive  opera- 
tion in  this  section. 

Still  farther  to  the  south,  in  Persia,  the  Turks  and  Russians 
also  battled.  Not  only  because  of  political  conditions,  but  be- 
cause of  the  nature  of  the  country,  it  was  easier  for  Russia 
and  Turkey  to  attack  each  other  through  Persia  than  directly 
across  other  frontiers,  just  as  it  was  easier  for  Germany  and 
France  to  reach  each  other  across  Belgium.  At  the  outbreak  of 
war  both  Turkey  and  Russia,  recognizing  these  circumstances, 
were  occupants  of  Persian  territory.  Early  in  November  two 
Russian  columns  marched  across  the  northwest  corner  of  Persia 
and  into  Turkey  by  the  Kotur  and  Khanesur  passes,  evidently 
with  the  important  city  of  Van,  on  the  lake  of  that  name,  as 
an  objective.  At  a  point  near  Dilman,  and  again  at  Serai,  they 
drove  the  Turkish  troops  back  toward  Van,  but  were  checked 
by  reenforcements. 

Meanwhile  the  Turks  had  a  more  considerable  success  to  the 
south.  Apparently  taking  the  Russian  higher  command  com- 
pletely by  surprise,  Turkish  troops  advanced  almost  unopposed 
to  Tabriz,  the  most  important  of  the  cities  of  northern  Persia. 
Alarmed  by  this,  Russia  sent  a  strong  force  which,  on  January 
30,  1915,  succeeded  in  recapturing  the  city. 

Thus,  up  to  the  end  of  January,  1915,  nothing  decisive  had 
been  accomplished  on  the  Caucasian  front  by  either  Turkey 
or  Russia.  The  Battle  of  Sarikamish,  resulting  in  a  Turkish 
loss  estimated  by  the  Russian  authorities  at  50,000,  while  decisive 
enough  locally,  seems  to  have  had  no  appreciable  effect  upon  the 
situation  as  a  whole.  For  reasons  resting  very  largely  in  the 
difficulty  of  finding  the  troops  necessary,  as  weil  as  in  the  con- 

1— War  St.  3 


ditions  of  the  country  and  the  weather,  the  Russians  had  been 
unable  to  follow  up  their  success.  Indeed,  the  offensive  appears 
to  have  continued  in  the  hands  of  the  Turks. 

It  is  probably  the  case  that  Russia  was  unwilling  to  detach 
any  considerable  number  of  troops  from  her  Polish  and  Galician 
front,  where  important  events  were  brewing.  Her  General 
Staff  rightly  regarded  the  Caucasian  front  as  of  secondary  im- 
portance— and  like  Austria  on  her  Italian  frontier,  determined 
to  fight  a  defensive  campaign. 

However  that  may  be,  conditions  after  the  first  few  months  of 
campaigning  settled  down  into  a  stalemate.  Engagements  op 
a  relatively  small  scale  were  reported  from  time  to  time,  but 
the  balance  of  advantage  remained  fairly  even.  Both  countries 
had  fronts  where  victories  would  bring  larger  returns  and 
more  immediate  effect  upon  the  ultimate  outcome  of  the  war. 



rjlO  the  Turk  no  operation  of  the  war  appeared  more  important 
-■-than  did  the  campaign  against  Egypt.  That  in  the  early 
days  of  the  struggle  in  1914  he  contented  himself  with  what 
amounted  to  little  more  than  a  demonstration  designed  to  hold  as 
many  British  troops  in  Egypt  as  possible  was  due  primarily  to 
considerations  of  larger  strategy.  Undoubtedly,  by  his  incursion 
into  the  Sinai  Peninsula  and  his  half-hearted  attempt  with  a 
hopelessly  small  force  to  cross  the  Suez  Canal,  he  learned  many 
lessons  invaluable  in  any  future  and  more  ambitious  campaign. 
Considered  as  a  diversion  the  early  advance  upon  the  Suez  was  a 
success :  as  a  serious  military  operation,  resting  on  its  own  legs, 
it  was  a  fiasco. 

No  operation  the  Turks  might  have  conducted  could  have  been 
so  unwelcome  to  the  British  as  was  that  against  Egypt.  For 
weeks  in  advance  it  was  discussed  by  English  writers  and,  while 

2_War  St.  3 

16  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

they  all,  naturally,  agreed  that  it  was  foredoomed  to  failure,  there 
was  an  undercurrent  of  apprehension  in  official  circles.  It  was 
realized  that  many  untried  problems  and  theories  would  be  put 
to  a  severe  test  by  such  a  campaign,  if  undertaken  in  a  serious 
way  by  a  large  and  well-equipped  force.  Of  a  purely  Turkish 
force,  commanded  and  organized  by  Turkish  officers,  there  was 
no  fear,  but  such  wonderful  organizers  had  the  Germans  proved 
themselves  to  be  that  the  combination  of  Teuton  brains  and 
Turkish  fighting  qualities  and  endurance  was  regarded  as 

It  was  realized  in  England  also  that  any  measure  of  success 
that  might  come  to  an  invading  force  would  have  two  very 
serious  results.  It  would  not  only  threaten,  and  perhaps  sever, 
the  shortest  route  to  the  east  and  so  seriously  embarrass  the 
trade,  military  and  naval  efficiency  of  the  Allies,  but  it  would 
have  a  grave  and  perhaps  decisive  effect  upon  Mohammedan 
malcontents  in  Egypt  and  India. 

The  exact  truth  of  the  conditions  in  India  and  Egypt  will 
possibly  never  be  known,  so  rigorous  were  the  operations  of 
the  censorship  set  up  by  the  British  War  Office.  One  thing  is 
certain,  however:  in  both  countries  political  conditions  were 
serious  before  the  war  and  they  could  not,  by  any  stretch  of 
optimism,  be  conceived  as  improving  with  the  coming  of  a  great 
struggle  aimed  at  the  only  remaining  independent  Mohammedan 

For  many  months  previous  to  August,  1914,  the  Indian  office 
in  London  had  been  apprehensive  of  rebellion  in  India.  In 
Egypt  the  circumstance  that  at  the  beginning  of  the  war  the 
British  authorities  announced  that  they  would  make  no  use  of 
the  native  Egyptian  army  speaks  for  itself.  It  was  believed  in 
Constantinople  and  in  Berlin  that  both  Egypt  and  India  were 
ripe  for  a  terrible  revolt  against  the  rule  of  the  British  Raj :  the 
uprisings  of  millions  of  fanatical  natives  that  would  forever 
sweep  British  control  from  these  two  key  places  to  the  trade  of 
the  world  and  would  institute  a  Turkish  suzerainty,  backed  and 
controlled  by  Berlin.  This  was  thought  all  the  more  likely  as 
thousands  of  the  British  regular  troops  had  been  withdrawn 


from  India  and  Egypt  for  service  in  France,  being  replaced  by 
raw  levies  from  England  and  the  Colonies. 

These,  then,  were  the  major  considerations  that  prompted  the 
early  offensive  against  Egypt.  It  was  based  upon  sound  political 
and  military  strategy.  Just  how  near  it  came  to  complete  suc- 
cess, just  how  much  additional  worry  and  effort  it  added  to  the 
burden  of  Great  Britain  and  France,  only  a  complete  revelation 
of  the  progress  of  events  in  all  fields  will  tell. 

In  the  attack  upon  the  canal  the  Turks  operated  primarily 
from  their  base  at  Damascus.  As  preparations  progressed  the 
troops  that  were  to  take  part  in  the  actual  advance  were  con- 
centrated between  Jerusalem  and  Akabah.  Under  command  of 
Djemel  Pasha,  Turkish  Minister  of  Marine,  there  were  gathered 
some  50,000  troops  consisting  mostly  of  first  line  troops  of  the 
best  quality,  reenforced  by  about  10,000  more  or  less  irregular 
Arab  Bedouins, 

During  November  and  early  December,  1914,  the  force  was 
moved  forward  by  slow  and  methodical  stages,  until  by  Decem- 
ber 15  it  was  awaiting  orders  to  advance,  encamped  on  the  con- 
fines of  the  great  desert  that  separated  it  from  its  objective. 

Here  it  is  well  that  the  reader  should  have  a  good  idea  of  the 
difficulties  of  the  task  the  Turkish  higher  command  had  imposed 
upon  Djemel  Pasha  and  his  troops. 

The  two  chief  difficulties  to  be  met  by  the  invaders  of  the 
Sinai  were  lack  of  transport  facilities  and  lack  of  water.  Three 
routes  were  possible  for  the  Turkish  army,  all  artificial  obstacles 
being  for  the  moment  ignored;  two  by  land,  across  the  Sinai 
desert,  and  the  third  by  sea,  across  the  Mediterranean.  The 
latter,  however,  must  be  ruled  out  because  the  seas  were  con- 
trolled by  the  Anglo-French  fleet.  For  the  same  reason,  the 
northern  land  route  had  many  disadvantages,  because  it  could 
be  commanded  for  a  part  of  its  length  by  warships.  However, 
it  is  instructive  to  examine  it  in  detail. 

The  whole  region  crossed  by  the  sea  road  is  desert  of  the 
most  difficult  and  forbidding  character.  By  this  road  all  the 
great  invasions — ^the  Roman,  Egyptian,  Assyrian,  Greek,  and 
French — ^have  been  made.     The  road  enters  the  desert  at  Efl 


Arish  and  from  there  to  El  Kantara  on  the  Suez  Canal,  the 
probable  point  of  attack  of  an  army  moving  by  this  route,  is 
100  miles.  Over  this  whole  distance  there  are  only  three 
places,  once  an  army  has  left  El  Arish,  where  water  can  be 
had.  The  first  is  a  matter  of  a  day's  march,  at  El  Maza,  thirty 
mileis^away;  the  second  is  at  Bir-El-Abd,  another  day's  march; 
and  the  third  at  Katieh,  within  striking  distance  of  the  canal. 
Without  the  construction  of  a  special  railway  the  transport  of 
Sifoike  large  enough  to  efficiently  control  the  canal  by  this  route 
seems  to  be  out  of  the  question. 

The  southern  route,  known  as  the  Hadj,  or  Pilgrim's  Road, 
running  from  Akaba  to  Suez,  besides  being  longer  is  even  worse 
off  in  the  matter  of  water.  This  was  the  traditional  path  of 
pilgrims  traveling  from  Egypt  to  Mecca,  and  still  is  much  in 
use  for  that  purpose. 

Something  like  150  miles  separate  Akaba  and  Suez,  yet  only 
two  watering  places  are  to  be  found  in  the  whole  distance.  The 
first  is  three  days'  march  from  the  former  place,  at  a  point  called 
Nakhl,  where  modem  cisterns  had  been  built  and  an  adequate 
supply  of  water  for  a  large  force  probably  was  obtainable.  The 
next  watering  place  is  another  three  days'  march,  at  Ayun 
Mousa,  or  Well  of  Moses,  within  a  short  distance  of  the  canal. 

But  tremendous  as  were  the  problems  facing  a  considerable 
body  of  men  in  attempting  to  cross  the  Sinai  desert  and  arrive  at 
the  Suez  Canal  in  condition  to  fight  a  strong,  fresh  and  fully 
prepared  foe,  they  were  not  to  be  compared  to  the  difficulties  that 
would  face  such  an  army  when  the  canal  had  been  reached.  We 
have  seen  how  great  an  obstacle  a  wide  river,  such  as  the  Vistula, 
proved  to  be  to  an  army  when  attempting  to  cross  in  the  face  of 
a  prepared  enemy.  In  the  case  of  the  Suez  Canal,  although 
there  were  no  strong  currents,  a  force  attempting  to  cross  it  had 
to  contend  with  two  added  difficulties:  The  Suez  Canal  could 
not,  in  the  circumstances  be  turned,  as  was  the  Vistula  by  the 
Germans.  Furthermore  its  defensive  value  was  immeasurably 
increased  by  the  circumstance  that  it  could  and  did  carry  war- 
ships of  the  largest  type  which  not  only  had  the  value  of 
fortresses  mounting  the  heaviest  of  guns,  but  were  mobile  as 


well.  And  finally,  because  of  the  nature  of  the  shores  of  the 
canal,  it  was  possible  for  an  attacking  force  to  cross  it  at  but 
few  points. 

The  question  of  crossing  the  canal  or  dominating  it  in  any 
sense  was  for  the  Turks  largely  a  question  of  bringing  to  bear 
a  superior  force  of  artillery — a  task  that  had  only  to  be  stated 
to  reveal  its  difficulties.  No  force  with  smaller  or  fewer  guns 
would  hope  to  cross  the  Suez  in  the  face  of  the  concentration  of 
artillery  and  naval  gunfire  that  the  British  could  bring  to  bear 
at  any  threatened  point. 

The  defenders  on  the  western  side  of  the  canal  had  the 
additional  advantage  of  railway  communication  running  along 
the  entire  canal  from  Suez  to  Port  Said,  and  connecting  with 
interior  bases. 

There  were  five  points  from  which,  once  having  conquered 
the  desert  and  reached  the  canal,  the  invaders  could  advan- 
tageously launch  an  attack  or  attacks  upon  the  canal  defenses. 
The  first  is  just  south  of  El  Kantara,  where  the  old  sea  road 
crosses  the  Suez.  Just  south  of  Ismailia  a  group  of  heights  on 
the  east  bank  provides  a  second  opportunity.  The  third  is  found 
at  the  point  called  the  Plateau  of  Hyena.  The  fourth  is  just 
north  of  the  Bitter  Lake,  and  the  fifth  is  to  the  south  of  the 
same  body  of  water. 

Late  in  December,  1914,  Djemel  Pasha  began  active  prepara- 
tions for  an  advance  upon  the  canal.  This  campaign  the  Turks 
later  called  a  reconnaissance  in  force  and  as,  of  their  total 
strength  of  50,000  men,  only  12,000  at  the  outside  and  possibly 
less  were  used,  the  limited  term  seems  justified.  Although  the 
southern  route  was  used  by  the  main  force,  a  small  force  eluded 
the  watchfulness  of  the  Anglo-French  naval  patrol  operating 
along  the  shore  commanding  the  first  day's  march  of  the  northern, 
or  sea  road,  and  ultimately  struck  at  El  Kantara.  Furthermore, 
sometime  before  one  of  these  two  forces — ^the  larger,  or  southern 
— reached  the  vicinity  of  the  canal,  it  split  and  conducted  an 
independent  attack  at  Suez. 

There  had  been  much  speculation  among  military  writers  all 
over  the  world  as  to  the  possibility  or  probability  of  the  construe- 

20  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

tion  by  the  Turks  of  a  light  railway  running  a  part  of  the  dis- 
tance across  the  Sinai  Desert  and  linking  up  with  the  line  to 
Mecca.  It  was  realized  that  such  a  railway  would  be  an  enormous 
help  to  Djemel  Pasha  and  his  army,  especially  in  the  transport 
of  supplies,  ammunitions,  and  artillery.  Indeed,  it  was  held  that 
only  by  the  construction  of  such  a  railway,  extending  almost  to 
the  canal,  could  the  absolutely  essential  artillery  be  brought 
into  action.  There  was  serious  doubt  of  the  ability  of  the  Turks 
to  build  such  a  line.  The  strength  of  the  German  "stiffening" 
in  the  army  based  upon  Damascus  was  believed  to  be  slight. 
Djemel  Pasha  is  said  to  have  seriously  opposed  any  great  num- 
ber of  Teuton  officers,  especially  in  the  higher  commands.  Thus 
the  assistance  the  Turks  could  expect  from  the  Germans  in  the 
organization  and  construction  of  such  a  railway  would  be  small. 
Whether  or  not  the  scheme  was  feasible  at  that  time  it  is  im- 
possible to  say.  At  any  rate  the  Turks,  for  reasons  best  known 
to  themselves,  did  not  put  it  to  a  test. 

The  British  force  in  Egypt  was  well  supplied  with  aeroplanes 
and  kept  the  Turkish  army  under  constant  observation.  With 
the  exception  of  the  use  of  the  first  section  of  the  road,  covering 
a  couple  of  days  of  time,  there  was  probably  no  element  of 
surprise  in  the  Turkish  attack  upon  the  canal.  Realizing  the 
limited  possibilities  of  attack  from  the  east  shore,  the  British, 
taking  their  lesson  from  experience  in  France,  had  constructed 
an  elaborate  system  of  trenches  to  the  east  of  the  canal  at  the 
five  points  where  attacks  would  possess  some  likelihood  of  suc- 
cessful conclusion. 

It  was  the  end  of  January,  1915,  before  the  Turkish  army, 
marching  in  easy  stages  across  the  desert  reached  the  vicinity 
of  the  canal.  Their  German  mentors  had  constructed  for  them 
elaborate  carriages  with  the  wheels  of  enormous  width  to  carry 
the  artillery  and  the  heavy  supplies  across  the  soft  sands.  Also, 
in  preparation  of  a  crossing  of  the  canal,  the  Turks  brought  a 
supply  of  ready-assembled  pontoon  bridges,  running  on  wheels 
and  similar  to  those  used  by  the  German  army  in  Europe,  except 
that  they  were  much  lighter. 

In  the  transport  of  all  this  material  the  Turks  were  dependent 

FAILURE    OF    "HOLY   WAR"   PROPAGANDA        21 

upon  camels,  suited  as  are  no  other  animals  for  work  in  the  desert. 
In  thousands,  they  had  been  collected  at  Hadj,  the  cooperation 
of  the  Arab  Bedouins  being  specially  valuable  in  this  work. 
The  consideration  of  these  events  in  the  campaign  which  begins 
in  February,  1915,  will  be  found  in  Volume  III  of  this  work. 



ONE  of  the  most  interesting  of  the  various  phases  of  the  war, 
so  far  as  the  participation  of  Turkey  was  concerned,  was  the 
religious  development.  Countless  pages  of  learned  speculation 
had  been  written  for  years  before  the  struggle  in  an  attempt  to 
forecast  the  outcome  of  exactly  the  conditions  that  had  arisen.  It 
must  be  said  at  once  that  in  the  first  six  months  of  the  war  reality 
failed  to  live  up  to  prophecy.  The  cataclysm  that  was  expected  by 
many  to  involve  the  revolt  of  millions  and  a  vast  change  in  the 
political  color  of  much  of  the  earth's  surface  did  not  appear. 
Any  change  that  took  place  operated  so  quietly  and  on  so  com- 
paratively small  a  scale  that  it  was  lost  to  view  beside  the  greater 
interest  of  the  struggle  on  the  battle  fields  of  France  and  Poland. 

It  is  desirable,  however,  that  the  situation  be  examined.  Abbas 
II,  Khedive  of  Egypt,  had  early  in  the  war  openly  shown  his  lack 
of  sympathy  with  the  British  in  Egypt.  By  his  actions  he  left 
no  doubt  regarding  his  attitude.  He  not  only  vehemently  ex- 
pressed his  adherence  to  Constantinople  but  left  Cairo,  and 
journeyed  to  Turkey,  safe  from  British  official  pressure  or  per- 
suasion. Whereupon  the  British  Government  called  upon  him  to 
return,  threatened  him  with  deposition,  and  finally  took  that  ex- 
treme step,  setting  up  another  in  his  place  on  December  18, 1914. 

Furthermore,  the  day  before,  Great  Britain  declared  Egypt 
a  British  protectorate  independent  of  Constantinople.  In  this 
action  Great  Britain  relied  not  upon  any  legal  right  to  take  such 
action,  but  merely  upon  the  right  of  actual  possession.     Since 

22  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Great  Britain  had  taken  over  the  government  of  Egypt  in  1883, 
she  had  acknowledged  the  sultan's  rights  of  suzerainty  and  had 
countenanced  the  payment  to  that  ruler  of  certain  considerable 
yearly  sums  from  the  Egyptian  exchequer. 

Indeed,  Great  Britain  was  in  Egypt  merely  by  virtue  of  an  in- 
ternational understanding  and  on  a  definite  agreement  to  release 
her  control  of  the  country  when  certain  conditions  of  political 
and  financial  stability  had  been  restored.  The  other  nations  had, 
willingly,  or  unwillingly,  become  resigned  to  her  possession  of 
this  strategically  important  land.  Great  Britain  a  decade  before 
the  war,  at  the  beginning  of  that  rapprochement  with  France 
which  led  up  to  the  Entente  and  which  had  so  many  fateful  con- 
sequences for  the  whole  world,  sought  to  legalize  her  position  in 
Egypt — at  least  so  far  as  the  other  great  north  African  power 
was  concerned.  A  bargain  was  struck  with  France  by  which  the 
English  occupation  of  Egypt  for  an  indefinite  period  was  recog- 
nized in  exchange  for  a  free  hand  in  Morocco.  Great  Britain 
could  now  urge  that  the  coming  of  war,  and  especially  the  entry 
of  Turkey  into  the  struggle,  placed  her  administration  in  Egypt 
in  a  position  impossible  to  maintain.  In  theory  she  was,  so  long 
as  she  acknowledged  the  suzerainty  of  the  sultan,  in  the  country 
merely  on  that  ruler's  sufferance.  She  admitted  his  ultimate 
authority  and  especially  the  loyalty  and  duty  of  the  Egyptian 
army  and  khedive  to  him.  Strictly  she  could  make  no  move  to 
prevent  an  armed  occupation  of  the  country  by  the  sultan's 
troops  nor  could  she  call  upon  the  khedive  and  his  cabinet  to 
repudiate  Constantinople's  sway.  To  put  an  end  to  this  condition 
of  affairs  was  the  most  legitimate  reason  for  England's  action. 

Although  the  native  Egyptian  is  in  religion  allied  to  the 
Turk,  his  religious  fervor  was  not  great  enough  to  induce  him  to 
rise  against  British  control.  Among  the  better  educated  of  the 
Egyptians  and  especially  among  those  who  had  traveled,  there 
was  a  strong  '^Nationalist"  movement.  At  times,  even  in  the 
period  of  peace,  this  movement  had  threatened  to  make  matters 
extremely  unpleasant  for  the  British  rulers.  For  some  years 
before  the  war,  German  and  Turkish  agents  had  been  working 
among  these  ardent  Egyptian  patriots,  encouraging  and  ad- 

'  FAILURE    OF    "HOLY   WAR"   PROPAGANDA        23 

vising  them,  and  when  war  with  Turkey  came  England  was  seri- 
ously alarmed.  Using  the  country  as  a  central  base  for  her 
Turkish,  Persian,  and  Balkan  operations,  Great  Britain  imported 
thousands  upon  thousands  of  troops  into  Egypt.  Just  how  many 
hundreds  of  thousands  of  armed  men  passed  in  and  out  of  the 
country  from  first  to  last  only  the  records  of  the  British  war 
office  would  show,  but  it  can  be  said  that  England  never  had  a 
force  of  less  than  90,000  trained  men  in  Egypt  at  any  one  time. 

Any  chance  of  effective  action  that  the  Egyptian  nationalists 
might  have  had  was  neutralized  by  the  indifference  and  lack  of 
interest  in  the  vast  body  of  their  countrymen.  There  were  more 
than  10,000,000  Mohammedans  in  Egypt,  but  only  a  small  minor- 
ity of  them,  under  the  most  promising  of  circumstances,  could 
have  been  counted  upon  to  pay  the  least  heed  to  the  call  of  Con- 
stantinople. The  Egyptian  fellah  is  anything  but  a  fighter. 
Lazy,  unlearned,  unambitious,  he  is  content  to  accept  his  daily 
lot,  perhaps  conscious  that  the  British  rule  has  brought  a  certain 
amount  of  comparative  prosperity  even  to  him. 

On  the  other  hand,  there  were  in  Egypt  something  like  600,- 
000  nomads,  a  very  large  proportion  of  whom  could  be  depended 
upon  to  follow  the  lead  of  Constantinople.  The  males  of  these 
wild  tribespeople  were  remarkable  fighters,  subject  to  no  con- 
trol, hating  the  English  sway,  and  so  independent  of  roads  and 
transport  that  they  could  keep  busy  an  even  larger  force  of  less 
mobile  troops.  Their  chief  weakness  was  their  lack  of  cohesion 
and  the  impossibility  of  any  concerted  action  on  their  part. 

This,  then,  was  the  native  situation  in  Egypt.  In  other  parts  of 
the  world,  where  Great  Britain  maintained  sway  over  large 
numbers  of  Mohammedans,  the  situation  was  equally  complicated. 
With  the  issue  of  a  call  for  a  Holy  War  by  the  Sheik-ul-Islam,  the 
religious  ruler  of  the  Mohammedan  world,  many  well-informed 
observers  looked  for  a  large  measure  of  trouble  in  India.  So 
many  were  the  elements  of  dissatisfaction,  and  even  open  re- 
volt, in  India  that  it  was  believed  the  Sheik-ul-Islam's  call  would 
be  the  match  applied  to  the  powder  magazine. 

The  attitude  of  the  various  Indian  potentates  was  uncertain. 
Some  of  them  were  known  to  be  only  outwardly  loyal  to  the  Brit- 

24  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

ish  authority.  The  now  famous  incident  at  the  visit  of  King 
George  to  India,  some  years  before  the  war,  when  one  of  the 
richest  and  most  important  of  the  native  princes  refused  to  bend 
the  knee,  was  indicative  of  very  widespread  dissatisfaction.  In- 
numerable cases  of  individual  and  even  concerted  violence  against 
British  rule  immediately  preceded  the  war,  and  several  of  these 
were  openly  encouraged  by  native  princes. 

So  far  as  definite  action  was  concerned,  the  opening  of  the  war 
with  Turkey  and  the  months  that  immediately  followed  falsified 
all  these  predictions  of  disaster  to  British  rule  in  India.  Many 
of  the  native  princes  were  effusive  in  their  professions  of  loyalty 
to  the  British  Empire,  and  several  offered  personal  service  at  the 
front  or  financial  contributions  to  the  huge  cost  of  the  struggle. 

Notable,  and  perhaps  decisive,  was  the  open  adherence  to 
Britain  of  the  Agar  Khan,  the  immensely  powerful  ruler  of  mil- 
lions of  Indian  Mohammedans.  The  Agar  Khan  had  spent  many 
of  the  years  previous  to  the  war  in  England  in  daily  association 
with  English  high  society  and  official  circles.  At  the  outbreak 
of  the  war  with  Turkey,  in  October,  1914,  at  the  request  of  the 
British  Government,  he  visited  Egypt,  and  it  was  largely  upon 
his  advice  that  the  former  khedive  was  deposed  and  the  new 
one  elevated  to  the  post.  Indeed,  at  one  time  there  were  strong 
rumors,  afterward  energetically  denied  by  the  British  Govern- 
ment, that  the  Agar  Khan  had  advised  a  Mohammedan  repudia- 
tion of  the  authority  of  the  caliph  and  the  elevation  of  another 
to  his  place  under  a  British  guarantee.  In  support  of  this  plan 
it  was  pointed  out  that  Great  Britain,  judged  by  the  number  of 
adherents  under  her  rule,  was  the  world's  greatest  Mohammedan 
power.  It  was  intolerable  to  many  English  people,  especially  to 
those  of  strong  imperialistic  tendencies,  that  the  real  control, 
even  in  theory,  of  so  large  and  important  a  section  of  the  people 
of  the  British  Empire  should  be  in  Constantinople,  safe  from  the 
"influence"  and  "persuasion"  of  the  British  Government.  By 
these  people  it  was  held  that  the  sultan's  lineal  claim  was  weak, 
and  that  an  even  better  claim  to  the  headship  of  the  Moslems 
could  be  established  for  any  one  of  several  other  men  who  might 
have  been  named.    However,  the  plan  was  never  achieved. 



RESULTS     OF     FIRST     SIX      MONTHS     OF 

WHAT  was  the  situation  as  a  whole,  so  far  as  Turkey  and  her 
military  actions  against  the  Allies  were^oncemed,  as  to  the 
outcome  of  these  various  operations  in  three  fields — the  Caucasus, 
Mesopotamia,  and  Egypt — during  the  first  six  months  of  the  war? 
The  military  narrative  is  recorded  in  the  chapter  following.  It 
will  be  seen  that  all  of  them  were  inconclusive.  Indeed,  from 
what  we  knew  of  the  circumstances  surrounding  them,  all  we  are 
justified  in  saying  is  that  none  of  them  was  serious  in  the  sense 
that  they  were  not  intended  to  have  any  decisive  effect,  directly, 
upon  the  progress  of  the  war.  Of  them  all  it  might  be  urged 
by  a  military  authority  that  they  were  subsidiary  operations, 
dangerous  and  wasteful  in  that  they  withdrew  valuable  men, 
munitions,  brains,  and  energy  from  the  decisive  fronts.  Their 
only  justification  is  that  they  imposed  similar  action  on  the  part 
of  both  armies,  and  so,  in  just  that  degree,  scattered  their  forces. 
For  the  Turk  it  can  be  urged  that  at  least  two  of  the  cam- 
paigns were  forced  upon  him  by  his  German  mentors,  whil^ 
the  third  was  imposed  upon  him  by  a  British  offensive. 
Furthermore,  the  Turk  was  entirely  cut  off  from  his  Austro- 
German  allies,  and  there  was  no  possibility  of  his  bringing  his 
weight  to  bear  in  one  of  the  main  fields.  From  that  point  of 
view  it  is  possible  to  justify  the  Turkish  offensives  as  sound 

Aside  from  a  desire  to  protect  the  oil  supply  in  Persia,  it  is 
hardly  as  easy  to  justify  the  British  offensive  in  Mesopotamia. 
As  events  subsequently  demonstrated,  it  was  possible  for  the 
Turks  to  throw  an  overwhelming  number  of  troops  into  Bagdad 
and  to  the  south,  and,  furthermore,  they  were  fighting  under 
vastly  more  advantageous  conditions  than  were  the  invaders. 
Only  on  the  assumption  that  the  Turks  were  hopelessly  demora- 
lized and  disorganized,  and  that  as  fighting  men  they  would  belie 

26  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

all  their  past  history,  was  it  possible  to  visualize  success  for  the 
British  operations  in  Mesopotamia. 

Turkey  had  definitely  come  to  grips  with  England  and  with 
Russia.  She  had  in  none  of  these  fields  measured  swords  with 
France,  although  she  was  equally  at  war  with  that  country.  Thei 
exact  apportionment  of  the  actual  work  to  be  done  by  the  indi- 
vidual powers  of  the  Entente  seems  to  have  led  to  considerable 
disagreement,  and  resulted  at  times  in  serious  delay.  Such  ar- 
rangements depend,  of  course,  upon  each  country's  idea  of  its 
spheres  of  influence.  Obviously,  no  country,  if  it  can  help  it, 
is  going  to  waste  its  men  or  its  efforts  in  a  field  in  which  it  has 
only  a  minor  political  or  commercial  interest.  So  far  as  France 
was  concerned,  the  Caucasus,  Egypt — aside  from  the  possibility 
of  the  closing  of  the  canal — and  Mesopotamia  were  not  of  enough 
importance  to  justify  her  in  participating  in  the  struggle  with 
the  Turks  even  were  it  physically  possible.  All  these  remarks, 
of  course,  are  subject  to  modifications  imposed  by  considerations 
of  the  larger  strategy  of  the  Entente  Powers;  but  for  many 
months  of  the  war  the  agreement  of  the  Entente  Powers  in  the 
matter  of  general  strategy  was  conspicuous  by  its  absence. 

With  her  neighbors  in  the  Balkans  Turkey  had  maintained 
remarkably  good  relations  considering  the  bitterness  engendered, 
not  only  by  centuries  of  strife,  but  by  the  recent  events  of  the 
two  Balkan  wars.  Bulgaria,  smarting  under  the  loss  of  territory 
through  the  attack  upon  her  by  Serbia,  Greece,  and  Rumania 
in  the  Second  Balkan  War,  was  openly  conducting  friendly  nego- 
tiations with  Turkey  for  the  acquisition  of  valuable  territory — 
a  compact  that  could  mean  only  one  thing.  Greece,  frightened  by 
the  menace  of  the  German  power,  had  resisted  up  to  the  moment 
all  the  blandishments  of  the  Entente  Powers,  who  urged  her  to 
active  participation  in  the  struggle.  Rumania,  largely  isolated 
from  the  Entente  Powers,  menaced  on  the  north  by  Austro- 
German  forces,  on  the  south  by  a  revengeful  Bulgaria,  borrowed 
heavily  from  Britain,  the  universal  money  bag,  but  straddled 
the  fence. 

Thus  Turkey,  which  in  different  circumstances  might  have  been 
in  a  precarious  military  situation,  felt  reasonably  secure,  despite 


her  isolation.  In  the  early  part  of  the  war,  however,  events 
moved  rapidly  and  not  exactly  to  her  liking.  For  they  threat- 
ened to  sweep  the  whole  Balkans  into  the  whirl  of  war,  and  no 
man  could  tell  exactly  how  the  various  petty  states,  under  the 
stress  of  sympathy,  military  and  naval  considerations  and  dy- 
nastic control,  would  align  themselves.  With  these  events  came, 
too,  the  first  participation  of  France  in  the  war  against  Turkey 
in  the  campaign  in  the  Dardanelles,  now  to  be  described. 



THE  beginning  of  the  bombardments  in  the  Dardanelles  opens 
a  remarkable  chapter  in  military  and  naval  warfare.  The 
desperate  campaign  to  batter  down  the  fortifications  which  lead 
to  Constantinople  and  the  disastrous  attempt  to  conquer  the  most 
strongly  barricaded  city  in  the  world,  probably  excited  more 
world-wide  interest  or  put  to  the  test  more  theories  of  warfare 
than  did  the  Dardanelles  campaign  undertaken  by  Great  Britain 
with  the  assistance  of  France.  It  was  fiercely  attacked  by  military 
critics  almost  from  the  start.  It  was,  however,  a  boldly  conceived 
operation,  calculated  to  have  a  most  important  effect  upon  the 
war  as  a  whole — certainly  upon  the  war  in  the  southeast  corner 
of  Europe. 

The  Dardanelles  campaign  was  largely  conceived  and  con- 
trolled by  the  Rt.  Hon.  Winston  Spencer  Churchill,  the  re- 
markable and  able  British  Secretary  of  the  Admiralty.  He  hag 
been  widely  condemned  for  his  share  of  the  operation,  but  rev- 
elations that  have  been  made  would  appear  to  clear  him  of  a 
great  measure  of  the  blame. 

What  were  the  considerations  that  weighed  with  the  British 
admiralty  in  deciding  to  undertake  one  of  the  most  difficult 
operations  in  the  whole  world?    Primarily  it  seems  to  have  had 

28  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

the  idea  of  relieving  the  pressure  on  Russia.  The  Turkish  offen- 
sive in  the  Caucasus  had  come  to  grief  about  the  end  of  Decem- 
ber but  a  resumption  was  momentarily  expected  and  feared. 
Hindenburg's  victory  at  Tannenberg  in  East  Prussia  had  been  a 
terrible  blow  to  Russia  and  she  had  no  troops  to  spare  for  de- 
fense in  the  Caucasus. 

Furthermore,  Constantinople,  besides  being  one  of  the  objectives 
of  the  war,  was  Russia's  only  warm  sea  gate  into  Europe.  It  must 
have  been  apparent  to  the  Russian  military  authorities  that  the 
existing  supplies  of  munition  and  guns  of  the  czar's  army  would 
not  suffice  to  withstand  a  hard  German- Austrian  drive.  In  other 
words  the  condition  that  resulted  in  the  defeat  of  the  Russian 
army  in  Galicia  and  Poland  in  the  summer  of  1915  were  foreseen. 
Russia  called  upon  England  and  France  to  force  the  Dardanelles. 
One  can  find  it  easy  to  condemn  the  operation  but  few  can  be 
found  who  will  deny  that  it  was  a  glorious  failure.  One  that  added 
luster  to  the  glory  of  the  British  army,  navy,  and  many  un- 
matched pages  to  the  story  of  their  bravery.  And  no  less  credit 
and  glory  did  it  bring  to  the  Turkish  armies. 

In  addition  to  the  question  of  war  supplies  there  were  other 
reasons  for  opening  the  Dardanelles  as  soon  as  possible.  Russia's 
ability  to  finance  a  war  of  the  magnitude  of  the  one  there  being 
fought,  especially  where  large  foreign  purchases  were  made,  de- 
pended very  largely  upon  the  maintenance  of  foreign  commerce. 
Russia  was  buying  from  all  the  neutral  world  as  well  as  from  her 
Entente  partners.  England,  for  instance,  was  not  only  making 
for  her  millions  of  dollars'  worth  of  war  supplies,  but  she  was,  for 
the  moment,  financing  many  of  Russia's  purchases  abroad. 

In  return  for  all  this  it  was  important  that  Russia  should  ex- 
port as  freely  as  possible.  Now  one  of  her  most  valuable  com- 
modities and  one  in  high  demand  not  only  in  England,  but  in 
other  countries,  was  wheat.  Millions  upon  millions  of  bushels  of 
Russian  wheat  were  stored  in  her  great  Black  Sea  ports  waiting 
to  be  shipped  through  Constantinople  when  the  Bosphorus  and 
the  Dardanelles  were  commanded  by  Entente  guns  and  ships. 
Greece,  under  the  leadership  of  Premier  Venizelos  was  hesitating 
on  the  brink  of  a  plunge  into  the  struggle  as  an  ally  of  the  En- 




ao  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

tente  and  not  only  agreed  to  the  use  of  Greek  islands  but  actu- 
ally considered  a  proposal  to  send  a  Greek  force  of  not  less  than 
20,000  and  possibly  as  many  as  40,000  over  to  the  Dardanelles. 
Bulgaria  was  in  that  state  where  a  striking  victory  in  the  Turk- 
ish peninsula  would  have  swept  her  off  her  feet.  Italy  was  at 
loggerheads  with  Austria,  her  ally,  and  about  to  break. 

Then  from  the  English  point  of  view  there  was  the  possible 
effect  upon  the  Mohammedan  throughout  the  British  Empire. 
Possibly  not  for  many  years,  if  ever,  will  the  world  know  the 
trutlji  of  the  conditions  in  India  during  the  war.  One  thing  is 
certain.  In  one  way  and  another  there  was  much  disaffection, 
much  open  rebellion  and  much  fear  of  an  even  wider  spread  of 
revolt.  The  need  for  the  maintenance  and  even  strengthening  of 
British  prestige  must  have  been  constantly  before  the  British 
ruler  and  no  other  campaign  could  possibly  serve  this  end  so  effi- 
cacious as  a  successful  assault  upon  Constantinople  and  the 
temporal  power  of  the  sultan.  It  would  clinch  probably  for  gen- 
erations to  come  Britain's  claim  to  be  the  great  Mohammedan 
power  of  the  world  and  would  destroy  the  one  condition  that  for 
years  before  and  at  that  time  especially  had  contained  the  seeds 
of  rebellion  against  the  British  yoke. 

In  beginning  the  campaign  which  Great  Britain  and  France 
carried  on  in  the  Dardanelles  there  reappeared  a  very  old  problem 
of  war — ^the  question  of  Warships  versus  Forts  or  land  fortifica- 
tions. It  appears  to  have  been  the  consensus  of  opinion  among  all 
except  the  more  extreme  exponents  of  battleships  that  land  forti- 
fications would  possess  an  undoubted  advantage  in  a  contest 
against  purely  naval  forces. 

This  it  seems  had  been  the  opinion  of  the  American  naval 
authorities  in  the  Spanish-American  War,  when  the  American 
commander.  Admiral  Sampson,  was  expressly  warned  not  to  risk 
his  ships  against  the  shore  defenses  of  Santiago  Harbor.  It  also 
appears  to  have  been  the  opinion  of  many  British  admirals  who 
have  placed  their  views  on  record.  Indeed,  there  was  in  existence 
the  views  of  several  competent  naval  authorities  as  to  the  possi- 
bilities of  a  purely  naval  attack  upon  this  very  system  of  defenses. 

It  was  not  by  any  means  the  first  time  that  an  attempt  had 


been  made  to  force  the  Dardanelles.  Many  such  attempts  had 
proved  this  narrow  neck  of  water  running  between  high  banks 
to  be  one  of  the  great  natural  defensive  spots  of  the  world.  The 
realization  of  that  obvious  and  oft-proved  fact  had  made  Con- 
stantinople through  the  ages  one  of  the  most  fought  for  and 
schemed  for  cities  of  the  whole  world. 

It  is  necessary  to  study  these  attempts  in  order  to  understand 
clearly  the  difficulties  which  faced  the  British  and  French  Allies 
in  1914.  Of.  the  previous  attacks  that  had  been  made  to  force  a 
way  through  the  Dardanelles  and  so  up  to  the  city  of  Constanti- 
nople, that  of  the  famous  Admiral  Hornby  in  1877  was  one  of 
the  most  interesting  as  well  as  one  of  the  most  instructive. 
Ordered  by  the  British  Government  to  take  his  fleet  past  the 
forts  that  lined  the  approaching  banks,  he  proceeded  to  carry  out 
his  orders,  but  wrote  a  warning  in  which  he  pointed  out  that, 
while  it  might  be  possible  for  his  fleet  to  make  its  way  into  the 
Sea  of  Marmora,  once  there  it  would  be  helpless  if  the  land  de- 
fenses were  controlled  by  the  enemy.  Out  of  coal,  ammunition, 
and  food,  the  ships  would  be  at  the  mercy  of  the  Turks.  "Al- 
though the  forts  might  not  prevent  a  strong  fleet  passing  through 
the  Dardanelles,  they  certainly,"  wrote  Admiral  Hornby,  "could 
sink  armed  and  unarmed  transports  and  supply  ships."  In  view 
of  these  considerations,  Hornby  urged  the  British  Government 
to  provide  a  land  force  of  sufficient  strength  to  carry  and  hold 
the  land  defenses.  His  superiors,  however,  did  not  agree  with 
him,  for  they  told  him  to  go  ahead  with  a  purely  naval  operation. 
His  ideas  were  never  put  to  a  real  test  because  the  Turks  offered 
no  resistance  to  his  passage  of  the  straits. 

The  situation  in  the  Great  War  of  1914  presented  Constanti- 
nople as  the  same  perplexing  military  problem.  If  we  go  back 
another  three-quarters  of  a  century  to  1807,  the  experience  of  Ad- 
miral Duckworth  throws  some  light  on  the  subject,  although  con- 
ditions had  changed  radically.  Duckworth,  with  his  sailing  ships, 
ran  past  the  forts  in  the  Dardanelles  and  anchored  in  front  of 
Constantinople.  It  was  hoped  that  a  threat  of  bombardment 
would  bring  the  Turks  to  their  knees,  but  the  latter  refused  to  be 

intimidated.  In  the  end,  the  British  admiral  ran  out  of  food  and 

3— War  St.  3 

32  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

water  and  was  compelled  to  leave  without  accomplishing  any- 

The  student  of  the  War  of  1914  also  must  consider  that  dur- 
ing the  war  between  Italy  and  Turkey,  the  Italian  General  Staff 
is  known  to  have  worked  out  an  elaborate  plan  for  an  attack  upon 
the  Dardanelles.  However,  at  the  critical  moment,  the  European 
powers  interfered  and  forced  upon  Italy  an  agreement  that  the 
war  should  not  be  extended  to  the  mainland  of  Europe.  In  the 
Balkan  War,  the  Bulgarians  threatened  the  lines  of  Bulair,  the 
narrow  neck  which  connects  the  Gallipoli  peninsula  to  the  main- 
land, but  never  launched  the  attack. 

When  in  1914  the  British  and  French  determined  to  press  a 
purely  naval  attack  upon  the  Dardanelles,  they  appear  to  have 
been  influenced  by  two  major  considerations.  At  the  time  there 
was  not  ready  a  sufficient  number  of  troops  to  make  a  land  cam- 
paign successful  and,  at  the  last  moment,  King  Constantine  of 
Greece  repudiated  a  personal  agreement  made  by  Venizelos,  the 
Greek  Premier,  with  the  Allies  by  which  Greece  was  to  pro- 
vide at  least  20,000  troops  to  assist  the  France-British  fleet. 
Even  after  the  fall  of  Venizelos  it  was  still  determined  to  push 
the  naval  attack  because  of  the  second  consideration.  In  the 
opinion  of  the  British  admiralty  the  full  power  of  modern  naval 
guns  of  11-  and  12-inch  had  never  been  tested  and  in  their  opin- 
ion they  would  suffice  to  reduce  the  Dardanelles  defenses  in  a 
comparatively  short  time.  Furthermore,  the  British  authorities 
appear  to  have  relied  largely  upon  the  new  15-inch  guns  of  the 
Queen  Elizabeth  and  her  sister  vessels,  then  nearing  completion 
in  British  yards.  So  tremendous  was  the  power  of  these  new 
guns  and  so  great  their  range  that  it  was  believed  the  Queen 
Elizabeth  and  her  sister  ships  could  stand  miles  out  of  range  of 
the  heaviest  of  the  Dardanelles  guns  and  quickly  smash  them  to 
an  unrecognizable  mass  of  ruins. 

It  was  evident  that  the  British  naval  command  held  these 
views  even  in  spite  of  the  experience  of  British  warships  off  the 
coast  of  Belgium  earlier  in  the  war.  For  a  while  in  1914  British 
monitors  and  battleships  bombarded  almost  at  will  the  German 
troops  posted  along  the  coast  running  from  the  Dutch  frontier 


line  almost  to  Nieuport.  Finally,  however,  the  Germans  brought 
up  heavy  army  and  naval  guns  and,  mounting  them  in  concealed 
spots  among  the  sand  dunes,  soon  drove  off  the  British  naval 

But  Turkish  guns  were  not  German  guns,  Turkish  gunners 
were  not  German  gunners,  and  above  all,  the  munition  supply  of 
the  Turkish  army  was  not  fed  by  factories  able  to  turn  out  a 
quarter  of  a  million  shells  a  day.  Some  such  considerations  as 
these  appear  to  have  convinced  the  British  higher  command  that 
there  was  a  difference  in  the  two  tasks. 

The  command  of  the  Dardanelles  forts  at  the  entrance  to  Con- 
stantinople and  the  Black  Sea  is  similar,  except  that  it  is  per- 
haps more  sure  as  to  the  command  of  the  entrance  to  the  Baltic  by 
Copenhagen,  the  Mediterranean  by  Gibraltar,  and,  in  a  lesser 
degree,  of  the  North  Sea  by  Dover. 

The  narrow  passage  of  water  called  the  Dardanelles  separates 
the  peninsula  of  Gallipoli  and  the  Asiatic  shore  of  Turkey.  It 
connects  the  ^gean  Sea  and  the  Sea  of  Marmora,  which  in  turn, 
through  the  Bosphorus,  connects  with  the  Black  Sea.  Curiously 
enough  this  tremendously  important  waterway,  the  only  warm 
sea  outlet  of  Russia,  had  been  closed  against  that  country  by  the 
action  of  the  very  powers  now  fighting  desperately  to  smash  it 
open.  The  Black  Sea  was  a  Turkish  lake  in  the  seventeenth  cen- 
tury but  in  the  century  following  the  growth  of  Russia  in  that 
part  of  Europe  made  the  question  of  the  control  of  the  Bosphorus 
and  the  Dardanelles  one  of  supreme  importance  to  her.  Thus  we 
find,  in  the  so-called  "will"  of  Peter  the  Great,  among  other  in- 
junctions he  lays  upon  his  successors,  an  admonition  never  to 
rest  until  Constantinople  had  been  wrested  from  the  Turk.  But 
whether  this  "will"  is  authentic  or  not,  Russian  policy  has  stead- 
ily kept  that  object  in  view. 

The  Crimean  War  was  an  attempt  by  France  and  England  to 
stem  the  almost  resistless  tide  of  Russian  expanse  toward  the 
southwest.  Russian  control  of  Constantinople  was  regarded  as 
the  chief  danger  that  threatened  the  western  powers  and,  in  1856, 
by  the  Treaty  of  Paris,  not  only  was  the  strength  of  the  Russian 
Black  Sea  fleet  expressly  limited,  but  the  Dardanelles  were  closed 

34  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

against  the  passage  of  Russia's  warships  into  the  Mediterranean. 
France  and  England  revived  what  they  called  "an  ancient  rule  of 
the  Ottoman  Empire,  in  virtue  of  which  it  has  at  all  times  been 
prohibited  for  ships  of  war  of  foreign  powers  to  enter  the  Straits 
of  the  Dardanelles  and  of  the  Bosphorus." 

Turkey  was  of  no  mind  to  leave  the  enforcement  of  this  "an- 
cient rule"  to  the  powers.  She  began  the  construction  of  more 
elaborate  fortifications  commanding  both  the  Bosphorus  and  the 
Dardanelles.  German  advice,  especially  after  the  Franco-Prus- 
sian War,  was  asked  and  obtained  and  Krupp  sent  some  of  his 
gigantic  pieces  for  the  defense  of  the  narrow  waters.  This 
German  cooperation  with  the  Turks  in  the  strengthening  of  thosi* 
positions  through  all  the  years  that  have  intervened  is  significant. 



T  ET  US  inspect  the  fortifications  in  the  Dardanelles  at  the  begln- 
•*-i  ning  of  the  war  in  1914.  The  Dardanelles,  from  end  to  end, 
have  a  length  of  forty-seven  miles.  From  the  town  of  Gallipoli  to 
the  MgesLTiy  however,  the  full  distance  of  the  narrow  section  of 
the  waterway,  is  a  matter  of  thirty-three  miles.  At  one  point  the 
passage  is  less  than  1,400  yards  wide  and  at  no  point  is  it  more 
than  7,000.  Although  there  is  a  good  depth  in  much  of  the 
channel,  shallows  are  to  be  met  with  in  most  unexpected  places. 
To  make  navigation  even  more  difficult,  there  is  a  swift  and 
powerful  surface  current  running  through  the  Narrows,  on 
some  occasions  at  a  speed  of  eight  knots  an  hour.  In  addition 
there  is  not  only  a  strong  undercurrent,  but,  as  well,  many  cross 
currents.  At  certain  seasons  of  the  year  the  wind  and  weather 
make  navigation  of  large  vessels  almost  impossible. 

Both  sides  of  the  Dardanelles  offered  natural  positions  of  enor- 
mous advantage  to  a  defending  force.   On  the  Gallipoli  side  were 


a  tangled  mass  of  rocks  and  hills,  almost  devoid  of  vegetation 
except  for  stubby  yellow  bushes.  In  a  few  of  the  little  valleys, 
stray  clusters  of  olive  trees  relieved  the  monotony  of  the  view. 
Heights  rose  upon  heights  and  along  the  shores  of  the  penin- 
sula nearly  perpendicular  cliffs  made  landings  almost  out  of 
the  question. 

Thi«  whole  peninsula  was  a  difficult  country  to  traverse  even 
in  times  of  peace.  No  large  maps  existed  of  its  intricate  paths, 
there  were  few  roads,  and  those  that  did  exist  were  so  com- 
manded by  heights  and  concealed  positions  for  guns  and  infantry 
that  the  progress  of  an  attacking  force  would  inevitably  be  most 
difficult  and  costly. 

Water  was  almost  nonexistent.  Most  of  the  available  sup- 
ply was  so  protected  that  an  attacking  force  would  in  no  case  be 
able  to  use  it  until  its  task  of  conquest  was  complete.  As  such 
a  force  advanced  inland,  these  difficulties  as  well  as  those  of  the 
country  would  constantly  and  rapidly  increase.  From  Cape  Hel- 
las, at  the  tip  of  the  peninsula  where  a  sandy  beach  made  a  land- 
ing possible,  if  difficult,  the  ground  rapidly  rose  to  a  height  of  140 
feet.  Hill  country  then  led  to  ridges  standing  600  feet,  while  a 
mile  and  a  half  beyond  stood  600  feet  in  the  air  the  command- 
ing peak  of  Achi  Baba,  destined  to  play  so  large  and  so  tragic 
a  part  in  the  struggle  for  the  peninsula  of  Gallipoli.  At  the 
narrowest  part  of  the  Narrows,  the  real  key  position  to  the 
straits,  stood  the  Kilid  Bahr  plateau,  700  feet,  while  to  the  north- 
west, almost  300  feet  higher,  stood  the  precipitous  eminence  of 
Sari  Bair,  a  dense  mass  of  trackless  ravines  and  thickets. 

Where  the  peninsula  of  Gallipoli  joined  the  mainland  is,  com- 
paratively speaking,  a  narrow  neck  of  land.  Even  this,  however, 
presented  tremendous  potential  difficulties  to  any  force.  A  hill 
almost  500  feet  in  height  rose  in  the  center  and  marshed  on  either 
side  prevented  a  turning  movement.  Furthermore,  the  difficulties 
of  landing  a  force  in  the  face  of  an  enemy  strongly  intrenched 
on  the  heights  were  not  lessened  by  the  circumstance  that  the 
cliffs  rose  to  a  height  of  300  feet,  almost  straight  from  the  water's 
edge.  In  short  nature  seems  to  have  designed  the  country  in 
every  way  as  a  protection  against  an  armed  force  seeking  to 

36  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

force  its  way  either  in  or  out  of  the  Black  Sea.  To  just  what  ex- 
tent these  natural  advantages  had  been  utilized  by  the  Turks  it  is 
impossible  to  say.  It  is  not  likely,  however,  that  they,  or  their 
German  mentors,  had  been  idle,  in  view  of  the  importance  the 
Allies  were  known  to  attach  to  the  straits. 

In  September,  1914,  and  probably  for  some  time  before,  the 
Turks  were  known  to  be  busy  strengthening  the  forts.  Subse- 
quent events  led  to  the  conclusion  that  they,  or  their  German 
advisers,  were  alive  to  the  lessons  of  the  early  days  of  the  war 
in  France  and  Belgium  and  had  made  elaborate  arrange- 
ments for  the  placing  of  heavy  guns  in  concealed  positions.  In 
addition  they  perfected  the  mobility  of  even  the  heaviest  of 
pieces,  so  that  it  became  impossible  for  observation  from  the 
Franco-British  ships  or  from  aeroplanes  to  locate  them  with 
any  certitude. 

The  Turks  also  seem  to  have  secured  a  plentiful  supply  of  sea 
mines,  with  which  the  waters  approaching  the  Dardanelles  and 
the  actual  passage  of  the  straits  were  strewn  along  the  shores. 
Toward  the  Narrows  were  constructed  shore  batteries  for  the 
launching  of  torpedoes,  as  well  as  for  the  launching  of  floating 
mines.  The  strong  current  of  the  straits  could  be  depended  upon 
to  carry  these  latter  engines  of  destruction  among  the  allied 
ships  of  war  should  they  venture  within  the  narrow,  confined 
waters  of  the  Dardanelles. 

This  was  the  condition  of  affairs,  then,  on  November  8,  1914, 
when  a  joint  Anglo-French  squadron  sailed  in  close  to  the  tip 
of  the  Gallipoli  peninsula  and  opened  a  bombardment  of  the  outer 
defenses  of  the  Dardanelles.  For  this  and  subsequent  naval  oper- 
ations against  the  Turkish  position,  England  was  able  to  detach 
from  her  main  theatre  of  naval  activity — ^the  North  Sea — a  con- 
siderable number  of  old,  but  still  extremely  powerful,  battleships 
and  battle  cruisers.  These  boats,  with  the  exception  of  the  Queen 
Elizabeth,  which,  later  appeared  on  the  scene,  were  all  built  pre- 
vious to  the  introduction  of  the  dreadnought  and  were  to  a  con- 
siderable extent  made  obsolete  by  that  vessel.  At  any  rate  they 
could  not  engage  the  more  modem  ships  of  the  German  navy  and 
could  not  be  attached  to  the  grand  fleet  of  England  because  of 


their  lack  of  high  speed  and  the  heaviest  of  guns.  For  these  rea- 
sons, although  their  loss  in  any  engagement  against  the  Turkish 
defenses  would  not  be  relished  by  the  British  authorities,  still 
such  a  disaster  would  not  be  decisive  in  any  war.  As  Winston 
Churchill  subsequently  pointed  out,  many  of  them  would  have, 
in  the  ordinary  course  of  events,  but  a  few  more  years  of  life  in 
the  British  navy,  so  rapidly  were  modern  battleships  deteriorat- 
ing under  the  rapid  advance  of  naval  science. 

At  the  entrance  to  the  straits  the  Turks  had  erected  two  major 
positions  and  several  minor  ones.  On  the  Asiatic  shore  stood 
the  Kum  Kale  Fort,  known  as  the  "New  Castle  of  Asia."  There 
the  main  battery  consisted  of  four  10.2-inch  guns.  A  short  dis- 
tance down  the  coast  stood  Yeni  Shehr,  where  a  main  battery  of 
two  9.2-inch  guns  and  a  short  battery  of  smaller  pieces  had  been 
erected.  On  the  European  side,  opposite  Kum  Kale,  stood  Sedd- 
el-Bahr,  with  six  10-inch  and  two  5.9-inch  guns.  At  Cape 
Hellas,  the  extreme  point  of  the  Gallipoli  Peninsula,  was  the 
Erteghrul  Battery,  mounting  two  9.2-inch  guns  and  some 
minor  pieces. 

Each  of  the  attacking  warships  fired  about  a  score  of  shells  at 
these  forts  and  an  attempt  was  made  to  determine  just  how  much 
damage  had  been  done.  None  of  the  forts  were  silenced,  however, 
and  it  was  finally  decided  by  the  commander  of  the  Anglo-French 
naval  force.  Vice  Admiral  Carden,  that  conditions  were  not  propi- 
tious for  pushing  home  the  attack  and  the  vessels  retired  out  to 
sea,  where  they  maintained  a  tight  blockade  of  the  Dardanelles. 
Then  there  followed  a  long  period  of  naval  inactivity,  at  least  so 
far  as  the  larger  vessels  were  concerned. 

About  a  month  later,  however,  on  December  13, 1914,  the  com- 
mander of  a  British  submarine  accomplished  a  feat  in  the  Sea  of 
Marmora  that  not  only  aroused  his  countrymen  to  enthusiasm 
but  as  well  won  for  him  the  coveted  Victoria  Cross,  the  first  in- 
stance of  the  winning  of  that  decoration  by  a  naval  officer  since 
the  beginning  of  the  war. 

Lieutenant  Holbrook  was  in  command  of  the  B-ll,  a  316-ton 
submarine  launched  as  far  back  as  1906.  It  was  in  no  sense  to  be 
compared   to   the   giant   underwater   crafts   that   were   being 

38  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT  WAR 

launched  and  used  at  the  outbreak  of  the  war,  some  of  them 
measuring  800  feet.  The  B-11  carried  only  sixteen  men  in  all — 
two  officers  and  fourteen  men. 

Early  in  the  morning  of  December  13,  1914,  she  started 
through  the  straits.  Evidently  her  commander  had  knowledge  of 
the  disposition  of  the  Turkish  mine  field,  for  Lieutenant  Holbrook 
successfully  navigated  his  ship  through  it,  dived  under  five  rows 
of  mines,  any  one  of  which  would  have  blown  his  frail  craft  into 
a  thousand  pieces,  and  came  up  under  the  side  of  the  Turkish 
battleship  Messudiyeh.  The  Messudiyeh,  in  any  other  navy,  would 
have  been  retired  long  before,  but  Turkey  had  none  two  many 
ships  and  probably  had  been  saving  her  to  fight  against  the 
equally  ancient  vessels  of  some  other  minor  power.  Launched 
as  far  back  as  1874,  she  had  been  reconstructed  and  rearmed  in 
1901.  She  was  lying  in  the  Sea  of  Marmora,  guarding  the  very 
mine  field  under  which  Holbrook  had  dived  his  craft. 

Holbrook  observed  the  Messudiyeh  through  the  periscope  of 
the  B-11,  maneuvered  for  position,  dived,  came  up  again  and 
launched  his  torpedo.  It  struck  home  and  the  ancient  sides  of  the 
Messudiyeh  gaped  wide.  Slowly  she  sank  while  Holbrook  dived 
to  safety.  For  nine  and  a  half  hours  the  latter  felt  his  way  out 
of  the  straits  and  when  he  returned  to  the  fleet  his  little  vessel 
and  its  daring  crew  received  an  enthusiastic  demonstration  from 
the  soldiers  of  the  larger  warships.  Besides  the  Victoria  Cross, 
received  by  Holbrook  himself,  his  second  in  command.  Lieutenant 
Sydney  T.  Winn,  received  the  Distinguished  Service  Order,  and 
each  of  the  fourteen  members  of  the  crew  received  the  Distin- 
guished Service  Medal. 

On  the  next  day,  December  14,  1914,  the  British  submarine 
B-9  attempted  to  repeat  the  feat,  but  the  Turks  were  pre- 
pared. When  she  came  to  the  surface  mines  were  exploded 
all  around  her,  and  she  had  all  she  could  do  to  make  good  her 

On  January  15,  1915,  not  content  that  the  British  should  have 
all  the  danger,  or  the  glory,  the  French  submarine,  Saphir,  en- 
tered the  straits.  Near  Nagara  Point  she  struck  the  bottom  in 
one  of  those  shallow  spots  that  abound  in  the  Dardanelles,  was 


compelled  to  come  to  the  surface  in  a  disabled  condition  and  was 
quickly  shot  to  pieces  by  the  Turkish  shore  batteries. 

The  movement  against  the  forts  in  the  Dardanelles  was  now 
begun.  This  campaign,  which  was  begun  with  so  much  con- 
fidence of  ultimate  success,  was  destined  to  become  one  of  the 
greatest  repulses  that  the  Allies  had  encountered  thus  far  during 
the  war. 




THE  battle  lines  of  the  Great  War  on  land  and  sea  were  now 
beginning  to  encircle  the  earth.  While  the  gigantic  armies  on 
the  battle  grounds  of  Europe  were  engaged  in  the  greatest  test 
of  "the  survival  of  the  fittest"  that  the  world  had  ever  witnessed, 
while  the  sharp  encounters  on  the  seas  were  carrying  the  war 
around  the  globe,  the  outbreaks  in  the  Far  East  were  bringing 
the  Orient  and  the  Occident — ^the  two  competitive  systems  of  civ- 
ilization— into  a  strange  alignment.  The  Moslem  world  was 
dividing  against  itself  as  had  the  Christian  world.  The  followers 
of  Buddha  and  the  Brahmins  were  in  direct  conflict. 

It  is  important,  therefore,  to  consider  in  this  chapter  the  de- 
velopment of  events  in  the  Far  East,  which  have  been  only  out- 
lined in  the  preceding  narratives.  Of  all  the  powers  that  joined 
the  coalition  against  Germany  in  August,  1914,  none  could  state 
H  clearer  cause  of  action  than  Japan.  From  the  first  outbreak  of 
iiostilities  there  was  never  any  question  of  whether  the  "England 
of  the  East''  would  enter  the  war,  and  on  which  side  she  would 
be  aligned.  Japan  decided  promptly  and,  having  decided,  acted 
with  characteristic  energy, 

For  a  casiLs  belli  the  Japanese  statesmen  had  only  to  hold  up 
to  the  eyes  of  the  world  the  Anglo-Japanese  Alliance,  which  had 
been  signed  on  August  12,  1905.  The  object  of  this  agreement 
was  the  maintenance  of  the  general  peace  in  eastern  Asia  and 
India,  the  preservation  of  the  common  interests  of  all  powers  in 
China,  by  insuring  the  independence  and  integrity  of  the  Chinese 



Empire  and  the  principle  of  equal  opportunities  for  the  commerce 
and  industry  of  all  nations  in  China,  the  maintenance  of  the  ter- 
ritorial rights  of  the  high  contracting  parties  in  the  regions  of 
eastern  Asia  and  of  India,  and  the  defense  of  their  special  inter- 
ests in  the  said  regions.  If  these  rights  and  interests  were 
jeopardized,  Japan  and  Great  Britain  agreed  to  discuss  fully 
and  frankly  what  measures  should  be  pursued  for  defense,  and  to 
act  in  common  in  case  of  unprovoked  attack  or  aggressive  action 
wherever  arising  on  the  part  of  any  other  power  or  powers. 

Thus,  in  those  critical  days  of  August,  1914,  one  of  the  first 
acts  of  the  British  Government,  when  war  was  declared  on  Ger- 
many, and  the  empire  was  reaching  out  for  every  possible  means 
of  defense  and  aggression,  was  to  ask  Japan  for  assistance  under 
the  terms  of  this  alliance.  And  Japan  did  not  hesitate — she 
threw  herself  vigorously  into  the  Great  War.  The  Japanese 
Emperor  in  his  declaration  of  war  against  Germany  did  not 
suggest  that  Japan  acted  in  response  to  her  ally's  direct  request 
for  assistance,  but  the  Japanese  Foreign  Minister,  Baron  Kato, 
in  his  speech  explaining  the  situation  to  the  Diet,  laid  emphasis 
upon  the  treaty  as  the  most  important  factor  in  the  situation. 

"German  warships  and  armed  vessels,"  said  the  foreign  min- 
ister, "are  prowling  around  the  seas  of  eastern  Asia,  menacing 
our  commerce  and  that  of  our  ally,  while  Kiao-chau  was  carrying 
out  operations  apparently  for  the  purpose  of  constituting  a  base 
for  warlike  operations  in  eastern  Asia.  Grave  anxiety  was  thus 
felt  for  the  maintenance  of  peace  in  the  Far  East. 

"As  all  are  aware,"  he  continued,  "the  agreement  and  alliance 
between  Japan  and  Great  Britain  has  for  its  object  the  con- 
solidation and  maintenance  of  general  peace  in  eastern  Asia,  and 
the  maintenance  of  the  independence  and  integrity  of  China,  as 
well  as  the  principle  of  equal  opportunities  for  commerce  and  in- 
dustry for  all  nations  in  that  country,  and  the  maintenance  and 
defense  respectively  of  territorial  rights  and  special  interests  of 
contracting  parties  in  eastern  Asia.  Therefore,  inasmuch  as  we 
are  asked  by  our  ally  for  assistance  at  a  time  when  commerce  in 
eastern  Asia,  which  Japan  and  Great  Britain  regard  alike  as  one 
of  their  special  interests,  is  subjected  to  a  constant  menace, 

42  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

Japan,  who  regards  that  alliance  as  a  guiding  principle  of  her 
foreign  policy,  could  not  but  comply  to  the  respect  to  do  her  part." 

The  Japanese  statesman  offered  this  explanation  to  his  people : 
"Germany's  possession  of  a  base  for  powerful  activities  in  one 
comer  of  the  Far  East  was  not  only  a  serious  obstacle  to  the 
maintenance  of  a  permanent  peace,  but  also  threatened  the  im- 
mediate interests  of  the  Japanese  Empire.  The  Japanese  Gov- 
ernment, therefore,  resolved  to  comply  with  the  British  request, 
and,  if  necessary,  to  open  hostilities  against  Germany." 

Baron  Kato's  speech  was  delivered  after  Japan  had  declared 
war.  The  Western  world,  when  it  found  time  to  turn  its  atten- 
tion from  the  absorbing  drama  already  being  enacted  in  Belgium 
to  the  minor  crisis  in  the  Far  East,  was  not  left  long  in  doubt 
regarding  the  intentions  of  Great  Britain's  ally.  War  was  de- 
clared on  August  24,  1914,  nine  days  after  Japan  had  dispatched 
to  Germany  an  ultimatum,  which  Germany  scornfully  ignored. 

The  text  of  the  ultimatum  was  as  follows:  "We  consider  it 
highly  important  and  necessary  in  the  present  situation  to  take 
measures  to  remove  the  causes  of  all  disturbance  of  peace  in  the 
Far  East,  and  to  safeguard  general  interests  as  contemplated  in 
the  agreement  of  alliance  between  Japan  and  Great  Britain. 

"In  order  to  secure  firm  and  enduring  peace  in  eastern  Asia, 
the  establishment  of  which  is  the  aim  of  the  agreement,  the 
Japanese  Government  sincerely  believes  it  to  be  its  duty  to  give 
advice  to  the  German  Government  to  carry  out  the  following  two 
propositions : 

"(1)  To  withdraw  immediately  from  Japanese  and  Chinese 
waters  the  German  warships  and  armed  vessels  of  all  kinds,  and 
to  disarm  those  which  cannot  be  withdrawn. 

"(2)  To  deliver  on  a  date  not  later  than  September  15  to  the 
Japanese  authorities,  without  condition  or  compensation,  the  en- 
tire leased  territory  of  Kiao-chau,  with  a  view  to  the  eventual 
restoration  of  the  same  to  China. 

"The  Japanese  Government  announces  at  the  same  time  that  in 
the  event  of  its  not  receiving  by  noon  on  August  23,  1914,  an 
answer  from  the  German  Government  signifying  unconditional 
acceptance  of  the  above  advid  offered  by  the  Japanese  Govern- 





44  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

ment,  Japan  will  be  compelled  to  take  such  action  as  it  may  deem 
necessary  to  meet  the  situation." 

The  intervention  of  Japan  in  the  war,  welcome  as  it  was  to 
Great  Britain,  created  special  problems  for  that  empire.  The 
British  in  China,  and  the  people  of  Australia,  New  Zealand,  and 
western  North  America  had  long  been  uneasy  regarding  the  com- 
mercial and  political  policy  of  Japan.  On  the  Pacific  Coast  of 
the  United  States  and  Canada  a  strong  anti-Japanese  sentiment 
had  developed.  British  statesmen  were  apprehensive  lest  the 
entry  of  Japan  into  the  war  might  be  used  to  alienate  American 
sympathy  from  the  Allies  and  diminish  the  zeal  of  the  Canadian 
and  Australasian  colonies  for  the  war. 

To  meet  this  situation,  the  British  Government  issued  a  formal 
statement  which  said :  "It  is  understood  that  the  action  of  Japan 
shall  not  extend  to  the  Pacific  Ocean  beyond  the  China  Sea,  ex- 
cept in  so  far  as  it  may  be  necessary  to  protect  Japanese  ship- 
ping lines  in  the  Pacific,  nor  beyond  Asiatic  waters  westward  of 
the  China  Seas,  nor  to  any  foreign  territory  except  territory  in 
German  occupation  on  the  continent  of  eastern  Asia."  This 
declaration  went  far  toward  allaying  uneasiness,  especially  in  the 
United  States. 

The  Japanese  people  accepted  the  situation  calmly.  There  were 
few  noisy  demonstrations.  Germans  living  in  Japan  were  not 
molested,  notwithstanding  the  action  of  Germany,  which  immedi- 
ately after  the  ultimatum  was  issued  arrested  every  Japanese 
subject  in  Germany  and  seized  funds  of  the  Japanese  Govern- 
ment deposited  in  the  Deutsche  Bank  of  Berlin.  In  Tokyo  the 
chief  of  police  told  the  people  that  although  the  two  Governments 
had  entered  into  hostilities,  the  people  individually  were  not  to 
cultivate  hostility.  The  German  Ambassador  remained  at  the 
Japanese  capital  until  August  30,  1914.  A  number  of  Germans 
who  decided  to  stay  in  Japan  were  allowed  to  continue  their 
regular  occupations. 

When  no  answer  came  from  Germany  up  to  the  time  of  the 
expiration  of  Japan's  ultimatum,  the  imperial  rescript  declaring 
the  existence  of  a  state  of  war  was  issued  next  day. 

The  emperor  said :  "We  hereby  declare  war  against  Germany 


and  we  command  our  army  and  navy  to  carry  on  hostilities 
against  that  empire  with  all  their  strength,  and  we  also  command 
all  our  competent  authorities  to  make  every  effort  in  pursuance 
of  their  respective  duties  to  attain  the  national  aim  within  the 
limit  of  the  law  of  nations. 

"Since  the  outbreak  of  the  present  war  in  Europe,  the  calam- 
itous effect  of  which  we  view  with  grave  concern,  we,  on  our 
part,  have  entertained  hopes  of  preserving  the  peace  of  the  Far 
East  by  the  maintenance  of  strict  neutrality,  but  the  action  of 
Germany  has  at  length  compelled  Great  Britain,  our  ally,  to  open 
hostilities  against  that  country,  and  Germany  is  at  Kiao-chau,  its 
leased  territory  in  China,  busy  with  warlike  preparations,  while 
her  armed  vessels,  cruising  the  seas  of  eastern  Asia,  are  threat- 
ening our  commerce  and  that  of  our  ally.  The  peace  of  the  Far 
East  is  thus  in  jeopardy. 

"Accordingly,  our  Government  and  that  of  his  Britannic 
Majesty,  after  a  full  and  frank  communication  with  each  other, 
agreed  to  take  such  measures  as  may  be  necessary  for  the  pro- 
tection of  the  general  interests  contemplated  in  the  agreement  of 
alliance,  and  we  on  our  part,  being  desirous  to  attain  that  object 
by  peaceful  means,  commanded  our  Government  to  offer,  with 
sincerity,  an  advice  to  the  Imperial  German  Government.  By  the 
last  day  appointed  for  the  purpose,  however,  our  Government 
failed  to  receive  an  answer  accepting  their  advice. 

"It  is  with  profound  regret  that  we,  in  spite  of  our  ardent  de- 
votion to  the  cause  of  peace,  are  thus  compelled  to  declare  war, 
especially  at  this  early  period  of  our  reign,  and  while  we  are  still 
in  mourning  for  our  lamented  mother. 

"It  is  our  earnest  wish  that,  by  the  loyalty  and  valor  of  our 
faithful  subjects,  peace  may  soon  be  restored  and  the  glory  of  the 
empire  enhanced." 



IN     THE     FAR     EAST 

WE  now  pass  to  the  first  fighting  ground  in  the  Far  East. 
Unlike  the  campaigns  in  the  west,  the  war  in  eastern  Asia 
developed  along  lines  which  any  observer,  possessing  the  least 
knowledge  of  history  and  international  politics  and  military 
strategy,  could  foresee.  From  both  military  and  commercial 
standpoints  none  of  Germany's  possessions  in  the  Far  East  could 
compare  in  importance  with  the  little  tip  of  the  Shantung  Penin- 
sula leased  for  a  term  of  ninety-nine  years  from  China  in  1898. 
This  concession,  about  fifteen  miles  long  and  ten  miles  across, 
was  designated  Kiao-chau.  In  the  sixteen  years  since  their  tenure 
began,  the  Germans  had  laid  out  at  Tsing-tau,  situated  at  the 
extreme  southern  end  of  the  peninsula,  a  city  which  was  rapidly 
growing  to  foremost  importance  among  the  ports  of  the  Chinese 
coast.  A  large  part  of  the  native  population  was  induced  to 
migrate,  hills  were  leveled,  roads  constructed,  trees  planted,  and 
waterworks  and  sewers  laid  out  along  the  most  up-to-date 

The  Great  War  found  Tsing-tau  a  modem  city,  almost 
European  in  appearance,  with  a  magnificent  harbor,  where 
natural  advantages  had  been  enhanced  by  the  construction  of 
immense  piers  and  breakwaters.  One  line  of  railway  connected 
the  port  with  Chi-nan,  capital  of  Shantung  Province,  and  Ger- 
many held  concessions  for  the  construction  of  two  new  lines.  The 
census  of  191B  showed  a  total  population  of  58,000,  of  which 
Germans,  exclusive  of  the  garrison,  numbered  2,500.  Non-Ger- 
man Europeans,  Americans,  and  Japanese  numbered  but  630. 
The  European  quarter  was  distinctly  Teutonic. 

The  attack  on  Tsing-tau  was  a  foregone  conclusion.  As  a  naval 
base  and  a  seat  of  menace  to  the  commerce  of  hostile  nations, 
Tsing-tau  occupied  an  unexcelled  situation,  almost  equidistant 
from  Nagasaki  and  Shanghai,  in  virtually  the  same  latitude  as 

SITUATION    IN    THE    FAR    EAST  47 

Tokyo,  San  Francisco,  and  Gibraltar.  Its  defenses  were  second  in 
strength  only  to  those  of  Port  Arthur  and  Hongkong. 

Kiao-chau  was  under  the  administration  of  the  German 
admiralty.  The  German  fleet  seized  it  in  1897  ostensibly  to 
secure  reparation  for  the  murder  of  two  German  missionaries  in 
Shantung.  The  ninety-nine-year  lease  subsequently  arranged 
gave  Germany  the  right  to  fortify  the  new  concession,  and  the 
thoroughness  with  which  this  privilege  was  exercised  was 
proved  by  the  stout  resistance  the  garrison  was  able  to  make 
against  far  superior  forces  of  besiegers.  The  whole  concession 
occupied  117  square  miles. 

Although  Kiao-chau  was  the  kaiser's  only  continental  colony 
in  Asia  the  outbreak  of  the  war  found  Germany  in  possession 
of  several  islands  and  groups  of  islands  in  the  Pacific.  These 
included  German  New  Guinea,  the  Bismarck  Archipelago,  the 
Caroline,  Pelew  Marrana,  Solomon  and  Marshall  Islands  and  a 
portion  of  the  Samoan  group.  But  the  strongly  fortified  port  on 
the  Shantung  Peninsula  was  the  naval  base  for  the  protection 
of  all  these  ocean  possessions;  and  the  Japanese  statesmen 
rightly  concluded  that  with  Tsing-tau  in  their  grasp  the  reduc- 
tion of  the  other  German  colonies  would  be  only  a  formal  task 
of  seizure.  Therefore  the  27th  of  August,  1914,  four  days  after 
the  declaration  of  war,  saw  a  Japanese  fleet  blockading  Tsing- 
tau  and  Japanese  transports  carrying  troops  for  landing  expedi- 
tions in  cooperation  with  the  warships. 

Germany  began  the  concentration  of  all  available  forces  inside 
the  Tsing-tau  fortifications  on  August  8,  1914.  But  she  was 
able  to  gather  there  when  the  siege  began  only  5,000  men,  a  hand- 
ful compared  with  the  great  force  Japan  could  muster  for  the 
reduction  of  the  fortress.  The  garrison  of  peace  times  was 
augmented  by  reservists,  who  came  from  treaty  ports  along  the 
Chinese  coast,  from  Japan,  Siberia,  and  from  every  part  of 
the  Far  East  near  enough  to  enable  German  veterans  to  reach  the 
city  before  communication  was  cut  off. 

The  crew  of  the  Austrian  cruiser  Kaiserin  Elizabeth,  more 
than  300  men,  who  had  left  Tsing-tau  by  railroad  before  Austria 
decided  to  join  her  ally  in  the  Far  East  as  well  as  in  Europe, 

4— War  St.  3 

48  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

hurried  back  in  small  groups  and  in  civilian  clothes  to  escape 
detection.  Squads  of  the  Landsturm,  the  last  reserve,  middle- 
aged  men  who  had  left  their  families  and  their  business  in  all 
parts  of  China  joined  the  ranks  and  went  to  drilling  in  prepara- 
tion for  the  hard  fighting  expected  as  soon  as  the  invading  fleet 
passed  the  outer  defenses  of  the  harbor.  Altogether  the  de- 
fenders mustered  three  artillery  and  infantry  regiments  and 
four  troops  of  cavalry.  They  had  three  aeroplanes  and  a  few 
machine  guns  and  in  the  harbor  were  four  small  gunboats  in 
addition  to  the  Kaiserin  Elizabeth. 

Tsing-tau's  principal  points  of  defense  were  Mount  Moltke, 
Mount  Bismarck  and  Mount  litis.  The  rugged  slopes  of  these 
positions  commanded  the  plain.  Beyond  the  plain  the  important 
outer  line  of  defense  was  along  the  Litsum  River,  which  flows 
into  Kiao-chau  Bay  and  then  through  the  mountains  to  the  sea, 
a  line  about  eight  miles  long  and  about  ten  miles  distant  from 
the  city.  Preparations  to  oppose  a  landing  of  hostile  troops 
were  made  at  points  along  the  coast  of  the  leased  territory 
for  a  distance  of  twenty  miles.  At  the  entrance  of  the  bay 
shore  batteries  and  mines  made  a  bombardment  by  the 
Japanese  fleet  impracticable,  except  with  the  support  of  land 

The  first  line  of  defense  comprised  five  forts  connected  by 
trenches  and  barbed  wire  entanglements.  The  shore  defenses 
consisted  of  five  forts,  called  respectively :  "The  Kaiser's,"  armed 
with  two  large  guns  mounted  upon  unsheltered  platforms  and 
two  cannon  of  medium  caliber  shdtered;  "August  Point,"  a 
square  closed  fort  with  unsheltered  gun  platforms,  and  two  guns 
of  large  medium  caliber;  "Taisichen,"  unsheltered  with  four 
large  cannon;  "Kaiser  Northeast,"  unsheltered  four  cannon; 
"Yunuisan  Point,"  two  cannon  of  medium  caliber.  The  main 
line  of  defense  was  for  both  land  and  sea  work ;  "Fort  Moltke" 
at  the  base  of  the  German  left  wing  had  a  shelter  trench  and 
guns  of  medium  caliber ;  **Fort  Bismarck"  had  three  heavy  gun 
platforms  in  addition  to  a  platform  for  rapid  fire  guns  of  large 
caliber.  From  this  the  guns  could  be  turned  in  any  direction. 
"Fort  litis"  mounted  four  heavy  guns  of  large  and  medium 


caliber  besides  mitrailleuse  of  large  size.  Two  heavy  guns  were 
mounted  in  the  summit  of  Mount  litis. 

In  command  of  the  German  forces  was  the  Governor  General 
of  Kiao-chau,  Admiral  Meyer-Waldeck,  a  naval  officer  of  ex- 
perience and  reputation.  The  defenses  of  both  land  and  sea  were 
under  his  control. 

This  entrance  of  Japan  into  the  war  introduced  a  factor 
fraught  with  unknown  possibilities.  Unlike  the  other  enemies 
of  the  Teutonic  alliance,  Japan  had  nothing  to  fear  for  her  home 
territory  or  her  possessions.  Secure  from  attack,  she  was  able 
to  devote  all  her  energies  to  the  task  of  driving  the  Germans 
out  of  the  Far  East.  By  this  accomplishment  she  not  only 
fulfilled  the  terms  of  her  alliance  with  Great  Britain,  but 
strengthened  her  own  supremacy  in  that  quarter  of  the  globe. 

Tsing-tau,  since  its  occupation  by  the  Germans,  had  been  like 
a  mailed  fist  brandished  in  her  face.  Since  Japan's  victory  over 
Russia  no  other  European  power  had  occupied  a  position  on 
the  Asiatic  coast  that  offered  a  threat  comparable  to  this  Ger- 
man stronghold.  Also,  it  was  only  human  that  the  Japanese 
remembered  how  Germany  compelled  them  to  abandon  many 
of  their  fruits  of  victory  in  their  last  war  with  China. 

The  unknown  factor  of  her  participation  was  just  how  far 
Japan  would  go  in  aiding  her  new  allies.  The  military  and  naval 
potentialities  of  the  Island  Kingdom  when  the  war  started  were 
greater  than  ever  before.  She  was  twice  as  strong  as  when  she 
went  to  war  with  Russia.  Her  navy  was  sufficiently  formidable 
to  resist,  in  home  waters  at  least,  that  of  any  other  power  except 
England.  Her  army,  twice  proved  during  recent  years  against 
the  soldiers  of  Russia  and  China,  was  steadily  increasing  its 
size  and  equipment.  Her  predominant  position  in  the  Far  East 
was  absolutely  assured. 

The  Japanese  army,  based  to  a  certain  extent  upon  the  German 
model,  numbered  at  the  outbreak  of  the  war  somewhat  over 
250,000  men  of  all  ranks.  This  was  its  peace  strength.  Military 
service  was  obligatory  upon  all  able-bodied  males  between  the 
ages  of  seventeen  and  forty.  This  law  made  available  each  year 
550,000  men,  but  in  practice  during  times  of  peace  the  annual 

50  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

conscription  amounted  to  only  120,000  men  taken  by  ballot  from 
among  the  number  eligible.  The  total  effective  military  strength 
of  the  Empire  was  estimated  at  a  million  and  a  half  trained 

The  army  was  divided  into  nineteen  divisions,  four  independ- 
ent cavalry  brigades,  three  independent  field  artillery  brigades, 
six  regiments  of  heavy  field  artillery  and  a  communication  bri- 
gade. Each  divisional  unit  consisted  of  two  infantry  brigades  of 
six  battalions  each,  a  cavalry  regiment  (three  squadrons  of  120 
men  each),  a  field  artillery  regiment  (six  batteries  of  six  guns), 
and  a  battalion  of  army  service  corps.  A  battalion  of  mountain 
guns  was  attached  to  certain  divisions.  Thus  the  army  on  a 
peace  footing  consisted  of  seventy-six  infantry  regiments  (228 
battalions),  twenty-seven  regiments  of  cavalry,  150  field  bat- 
teries, nine  mountain  batteries,  nineteen  battalions  of  garrison 
artillery  and  nineteen  battalions  of  engineers.  When  the  reserves 
were  summoned  to  the  colors  the  Japanese  system  provided  for 
an  indefinite  increase  in  the  number  of  battalions  for  each 

The  Japanese  navy  had  weathered  a  storm  which  at  one  time 
threatened  to  interfere  seriously  with  its  steady  growth,  and 
the  year  1914  found  it  at  a  formidable  climax  of  strength  and 
efficiency.  The  war  with  Russia  had  left  the  nation  on  the  verge 
of  bankruptcy  and  the  annual  budgets  from  1907  to  1910  con- 
tained  no  appropriations  for  naval  increases.  The  lull  in  naval 
construction,  however,  was  of  short  duration.  The  wisest  states- 
men realized,  from  the  time  when  Japan  first  emerged  from 
her  Oriental  seclusion  and  eagerly  set  out  to  learn  the  lessons 
of  western  civilization,  that  their  country's  insular  situation 
made  a  strong  navy  the  first  requisite  of  national  independence. 
It  was  the  warships  of  the  western  world  that  forced  the 
Japanese  to  open  their  door  to  the  foreigner.  Fifteen  years  after 
the  Japanese  had  seen  the  foreign  men-of-war  riding  dominant 
in  their  harbors,  their  antiquated  collection  of  war  junks  had 
been  replaced  by  an  up-to-date  navy,  manned  and  officered  by 
sea  fighters  trained  upon  the  best  western  models.  In  1910 
the  Japanese  began  to  compare  their  nav^^  equipment  with  that 


of  Germany,  and  from  that  time  their  shipbuilding  program 
was  designed  to  make  them  secure  against  the  chance  of  Ger- 
man aggression,  ever  present  since  the  Ibasing  of  Kiao-chau. 

At  the  outbreak  of  the  Great  War  the  Japanese  navy  had 
nearly  doubled  its  strength  since  the  close  of  the  war  with  Russia. 
It  included  two  battleships  of  the  dreadnought  class,  the 
Kawachi  and  the  Settsu,  both  over  21,000  tons,  with  a  speed  of 
twenty  knots,  two  dreadnought  battle  crusiers  of  27,500  tons 
each  and  a  speed  of  twenty-seven  knots,  the  Kongo  and  the  Hiyei; 
two  semi-dreadnought  battleships,  the  Aki  and  Satsuma,  between 
19,000  and  20,000  tons  each  and  a  speed  of  twenty  and  eighteen 
and  a  quarter  knots,  respectively ;  four  first-class  battle  cruisers 
with  speeds  ranging  from  twenty  to  twenty-three  knots  and 
averaging  14,000  tons;  six  battleships  of  slightly  heavier  dis- 
placement and  slightly  less  speed;  six  first-class  coast  defense 
ships,  averaging  13,000  tons  and  seventeen  and  a  half  knots; 
nine  first-class  cruisers  ranging  from  7,300  to  9,800  tons  and 
twenty  to  twenty-one  knots ;  thirteen  second-class  cruisers,  some 
of  which  had  a  speed  of  twenty-six  knots;  seven  second-class 
coast  defense  ships;  nine  gunboats,  two  first-class  destroyers 
capable  of  thirty-five  knots  an  hour ;  two  second-class  destroyers 
with  a  speed  of  thirty-three  knots ;  and  forty-six  other  destroyers 
of  varying  speeds;  thirty-one  torpedo  boats  and  thirteen  sub- 
marines, besides  auxiliary  craft,  hospital  ships,  dispatch  boats, 

Although  the  Japanese  air  fleet  gave  a  good  account  of  itself 
during  the  operations  before  Tsing-tau  it  developed  no  sur- 
prises, and  accomplished  no  exploits  to  confirm  rumors  prevail- 
ing before  the  war  that  in  Japan  naval  aviation  had  reached  a 
special  and  advanced  stage.  The  Japanese  Flying  Corps  con- 
ducted itself  upon  lines  made  familiar  by  the  British,  German 
and  French  aviators  in  Europe. 

52  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 



HAVING  reviewed  the  military  and  naval  situation  in  the  Far 
East  at  the  outbreak  of  war,  we  come  now  to  the  beginning 
of  actual  belligerent  operations. 

Japan's  declaration  of  war  against  Germany  was  dated  August 
23,  1914.  The  morning  of  the  preceding  day  witnessed  the  de- 
parture from  Japanese  war  ports  of  the  greatest  fleet  of  war- 
ships and  transports  the  Empire  had  sent  to  sea  since  the 
Russian  War.  It  comprised  the  Second  Squadron,  embracing 
battleships,  cruisers,  destroyers  and  hydro-aeroplanes,  a  dozen 
in  all.  The  transports  carried  land  forces  numbering  22,980 
officers  and  men  and  142  guns  to  be  put  ashore  as  soon  as  the 
landing  forces  had  ground  for  their  advantageous  location. 

The  Japanese  troops  included  the  Eighteenth  Division,  under 
Lieutenant  General  Mitsuomi  Kamio,  who  was  Commander  in 
Chief  of  the  expedition ;  the  Twenty-third  Brigade  of  Infantry 
(Major  General  B.  Horiuchi) ;  the  Twenty-fourth  Brigade  of 
Infantry,  commanded  by  Major  General  Hanzo  Yamanashi, 
Chief  of  Staff,  and  other  divisional  troops.  The  Twenty-ninth 
Brigade  of  Infantry  (Major  General  G.  Joholi).  Siege  Artil- 
lery Corps  (Major  General  Y.  Watanebe),  the  Miyama  Heavy 
Artillery  Regiment,  the  Yokosuka  Heavy  Artillery  Regiment, 
the  Shimonosoki  Heavy  Artillery  Battalion,  and  the  Tadanoumi 
Heavy  Artillery  Battalion.  Detachments  of  Engineers  and  Army 
Service  Corps  from  the  Sixth  and  Twelfth  Divisions.  Two  Rail- 
Way  Battalions.  Railway  Guard  Troops,  the  Eighth  Infantry 
Regiment.  Detachment  of  the  Flying  Corps.  Marine  Artillery 
Detachment.  Being  intended  for  siege  work  this  army  carried 
no  cavalry,  horse  artillery  or  light  field  artillery. 

In  command  of  the  fleet  was  Vice  Admiral  Hikonojo  Kam- 
imura,  whose  reputation  as  one  of  Japan's  war  idols  was 
established  when  his  squadron  had  defeated  three  Russian  war- 


ships,  the  Rurik,  Gromoboi  and  Rossia,  off  the  east  coast  of  Korea. 
Later  his  squadron  had  taken  a  commanding  part  in  the  great 
battle  in  the  Japan  Sea,  which  put  an  end  to  Russia's  naval  power 
in  the  East.  Admiral  Kamimura  was  sixty-five  years  old,  and 
had  spent  the  greater  part  of  his  life  in  naval  service.  After  the 
final  Russian  defeat  he  was  rewarded  with  the  title  of  Baron 
and  invested  with  the  Grand  Cordon  of  the  Rising  Sun  and  the 
first-class  of  the  Golden  Kite. 

On  September  23,  1914,  the  Japanese  were  joined  by  a  British 
force  of  1,369  men  under  command  of  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Nathaniel  Walter  Barnardiston,  commander  of  the  British  forces 
in  North  China,  including  Wei-hai-wei.  Although  the  British 
did  not  arrive  until  a  month  after  the  forces  sailed  from  Japan, 
the  distance  that  separated  Laoshan  Bay,  where  the  former  made 
their  landing  on  the  original  leased  territory  and  thus  avoided 
the  breach  of  neutrality  against  China  committed  by  the 
Japanese,  was  so  much  shorter  and  the  landing  place  presented 
so  much  less  difficulty  than  the  Japanese  encountered  in  their 
preliminary  advance,  that  the  British  really  arrived  on  the 
scene  of  actual  operations  just  as  the  Japanese  were  finishing 
their  first  engagements  in  force,  on  September  28,  1914. 

Colonel  Bamardiston's  command  consisted  of  910  noncom- 
missioned officers  and  men  of  the  Second  Battalion  South  Wales 
Borderers,  and  450  non-commissioned  officers  and  men  of  the 
Thirty-sixth  Sikhs,  besides  nine  staff  officers. 

The  bombardment  of  the  Tsing-tau  forts  began  on  August 
26,  1914,  and  on  September  1,  1914,  the  Japanese  bluejackets 
seized  several  small  islands  in  Kiao-chau  Bay,  which  the  Ger- 
mans were  unable  to  defend  except  by  long  range  fire  from  their 
shore  batteries,  and  by  mines  with  which  the  harbor  had  been 
thickly  sown.  Mine  sweeping  therefore  occupied  the  first  activi- 
ties of  the  fleet.  This  operation  was  signalized  by  one  of  the 
many  acts  of  patriotism  and  bravery  that  characterized  the 
siege  on  both  sides.  One  hundred  Japanese  women  who  made 
their  living  by  diving  for  pearls  in  these  waters  offered  to  enter 
the  water  and  release  the  mines  from  their  moorings  so  that 
they  would  be  carried  away  by  the  tides.    Their  courageous  offer 

54  THE    STORY    OF   THE   GREAT  WAR 

was  declined,  not  because  the  Japanese  admiral  believed  it  could 
not  be  carried  out,  but  because  the  Japanese  law  expressly 
prohibited  the  employment  of  women  in  warlike  operations. 
When  one  of  the  small  boats  that  acted  as  mine  sweepers  was 
blown  up  during  the  dragging  that  followed  the  women  renewed 
their  offer,  but  again  it  was  declined. 

The  first  landing  on  the  Shan-tung  Peninsula  was  mad< 
September  2,  1914.  Ten  thousand  troops  were  put  ashore;  but 
it  was  not  until  September  25,  1914,  that  the  invaders  made 
their  first  capture  of  a  German  outpost,  Weihsien.  The  check 
on  the  Japanese  advance,  however,  was  due  less  to  the  defenders 
of  Tsing-tau  than  to  the  torrential  rains,  which  swelled  the 
streams  and  for  a  time  effectively  barred  further  movements.  The 
Japanese  artillery  was  compelled  to  return  to  Lung-chow,  their 
original  base  on  the  mainland. 

The  Japanese  leaders  proceeded  with  deliberation  and  caution. 
They  had  the  enemy  penned  up  with  no  hope  of  reenforcement, 
and  nothing  was  to  be  gained  by  haste  or  the  unnecessary  waste 
of  men  and  equipment.  On  September  19,  1914,  to  facilitate 
the  movement  of  their  troops  behind  the  beleaguered  city,  they 
seized  the  railway  connecting  Tsing-tau  with  the  Chinese  pro- 
vince of  Shantung,  and  China,  prompted  by  Berlin,  protested 
against  the  act  as  a  violation  of  neutrality.  This  was  the  second 
Chinese  protest,  the  first  having  been  sent  to  Tokyo  after  the 
Japanese  made  their  first  landing  on  Chinese  territory  at  Lung- 
chow.  To  the  former  objection  Japan  had  no  answer  except  to 
set  forth  that  the  landing  was  a  militairy  necessity  and  made  with 
no  intention  of  permanent  occupancy.  To  the  second  protest, 
however,  she  replied  without  hesitation  that  possession  of  the 
railway  line  was  justified  since  it  was  owned  by  Germans.  The 
wide  area  covered  by  the  Japanese  investment  campaign  is 
shown  by  the  fact  that  by  September  13,  1914,  they  had 
established  guards  at  the  railway  station  of  Kiao-chau — a  town 
having  the  same  name  as  the  whole  German  concession — ^twenty- 
two  miles  distant  from  Tsing-tau. 

While  the  Japanese  infantry  and  engineers  waited  for  the 
floods  the  naval  airmen  were  not  idle.    The  first  damage  inside 



the  city  was  inflicted  by  two  seaplanes  which  dropped  bombs 
upon  the  railway  station  and  barracks.  Although  one  of  the 
planes  was  hit  several  times  by  the  German  guns,  both  made  a 
safe  return.  This  raid  was  the  forerunner  of  a  systematic  air 
campaign,  designed  as  much  to  strike  terror  and  discourage- 
ment into  the  hearts  of  the  garrison  and  the  civil  population  as 
to  gain  any  military  end  by  the  actual  destruction  of  defense 
works.  Bombs  were  dropped  also  upon  ships  in  the  harbor. 
Occasionally  the  Japanese  flyers  scattered  circulars  calling  upon 
the  defenders  to  surrender  and  pointing  out  the  uselessness  of 
further  resistance. 

The  first  serious  losses  on  either  side  were  naval.  On  August 
28,  1914,  two  days  after  the  first  bombardment  a  typhoon  swept 
the  Japanese  fleet,  causing  havoc  among  the  little  destroyers  and 
sending  one  to  the  bottom.  Five  days  later  another  destroyer 
ran  aground  in  Kiao-chau  Bay.  A  German  merchant  ship  in  the 
harbor  was  set  afire  by  the  Japanese  aerial  bombs  and  destroyed. 
The  greatest  naval  losses  suffered  during  the  whole  engagement 
were  the  destruction  of  the  Austrian  cruiser  Kaiserin  Elizabeth 
and  of  the  Japanese  cruiser  Takachiho.  The  Kaiserin  EUzabeth 
was  sunk  by  the  naval  bombardment;  but  the  loss  of  the  Tak- 
achiho was  due  to  the  German  torpedo  boat  8-90, 

It  was  September  26,  1914,  before  the  floods  subsided  sufli- 
ciently  to  permit  the  Japanese  to  resume  their  advance.  On  that 
day  they  drove  the  Germans  from  the  high  ground  between  the 
rivers  Pai-sha  and  Li-tsun,  and  next  day  they  pushed  forward  to 
a  point  seven  miles  northeast  of  Tsing-tau,  between  the  Li-tsun 
and  the  Chang-tsun.  The  following  morning  found  them  estab- 
lished within  five  miles  of  the  fortress.  Their  casualties  were  re- 
ported as  three  killed  and  twelve  wounded. 

These  two  days  saw  the  heaviest  fighting  thus  far  during  the 
siege.  While  the  land  forces  were  pushing  up  to  the  main  Ger- 
man forts  the  fleet  carried  on  a  general  bombardment,  having  by 
this  time  moved  in  close  enough  to  make  gun  fire  eflFective  and 
having  learned  the  range.  The  Japanese  warships  were  assisted 
by  the  British  battleship  Triumph,  which  had  joined  them  a 
short  time  before  with  the  British  destroyer  Usk.  These  British 

56  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

boats  remained  throughout  the  investment,  the  Triumph  was  a 
favorite  mark  for  the  German  gunners,  but  escaped  with  com- 
paratively slight  damage. 

By  September  30, 1914,  the  Germans  were  driven  in  from  their 
outer  fortifications  and  Tsing-tau  itself  was  completely  sur- 
rounded. On  that  day  the  defenders  made  a  desperate  attempt  to 
regain  some  of  their  lost  positions,  but  they  were  repulsed,  and 
the  Japanese  settled  back  for  a  few  days  to  await  the  bringing 
up  of  their  heavy  siege  guns. 

It  is  said  that  the  failure  of  this  assault,  in  which  the  Ger- 
mans apparently  concentrated  all  their  resources,  convinced  Gen- 
eral Kamio  that  the  capture  of  the  city  would  not  prove  the  long, 
arduous  task  that  had  been  expected,  and  he  abandoned  forth- 
with his  plans  for  a  long,  slow  siege  and  made  preparations  to 
take  the  place  by  assault.  At  the  same  time  the  Japanese  com- 
mander showed  no  disposition  to  sacrifice  his  men  unnecessarily, 
and  while  waiting  for  their  big  guns  the  Japanese  worked  like 
beavers  with  pick  and  shovel  protecting  their  positions  and  dig- 
ging saps  and  zigzag  trenches  up  to  the  very  face  of  the  German 
defenses.  They  labored  under  a  storm  of  shells  but  so  little  ex- 
posed that  losses  under  the  bombardment  were  small  compared 
with  the  casualties  of  the  actual  assault  operations. 

For  eight  days  the  Germans  poured  projectiles  into  the  enemy's 
works ;  but  for  the  most  part  their  shooting  was  a  waste  of  am- 
munition. Just  why  the  defenders  of  Tsing-tau  were  so  prodigal 
of  ammunition  at  this  time  never  has  been  satisfactorily  ex- 
plained. Military  correspondents  estimated  that  during  one 
period  of  twenty-four  hours  the  forts  on  the  three  hills  contain- 
ing the  main  defensive  positions  fired  more  than  2,000  shells 
without  inflicting  any  loss  whatever. 

But  by  October  8,  1914,  the  German  fire  slackened  perceptibly. 
They  had  found  that  they  were  wasting  their  resources  and  that 
several  positions  were  almost  out  of  ammunition.  The  warfare 
of  that  period  is  described  in  a  letter  written  by  an  officer  with 
the  British  expeditionary  force : 

"That  night,"  he  said,  "we  were  working  in  trenches  along  a 
river  bed  at  the  bottom  of  the  slope,  where  the  others  had  been 


wounded,  and  sans  doute  most  darnation  close  to  the  enemy.  A 
beginning  had  been  made  on  this  trench  the  night  before,  so  there 
was  a  little  cover.  The  two  redoubts  were  about  800  yards  on  our 
right  and  left  respectively,  the  enemy's  trenches  about  350 
yards  to  our  front. 

"Well,  for  the  first  hour  after  getting  down  we  were  left  se- 
verely alone.  Then  they  started  throwing  star  rockets  and  sort  of 
Roman  candle  things  which  lit  up  the  place  like  day,  and  at  the 
same  time  they  peppered  us  with  Maxims,  pompoms,  and  rifle 
fire  from  all  three  places.  We  had  some  men  hit  further  back  in 
■the  communication  trench,  but  funnily  enough  none  in  the  for- 
'^ard  line.  . .  .  We  were  entertained  by  a  certain  amount  of  shell 
ire  during  the  rest  of  the  night.  Next  night  we  were  due  to 
leave  for  the  forward  trenches  at  dusk  to  carry  on,  having  had 
>ur  usual  entertainment  in  the  afternoon  from  the  Germans, 
^hen  suddenly  they  began  throwing  shrapnel  at  our  trench.  For 
about  half  an  hour  it  was  all  over  us,  and  Fm  blest  if  I  know  why 
nobody  was  hit.  It  was  the  overhead  cover,  I  fancy,  that  saved 
us  this  time.  We  came  out  like  a  lot  of  rabbits  when  it  was  over 
and  proceeded  to  get  down  below. 

"The  Japanese  artillery  was  supporting  us  that  night,  as  we 
were  working  on  the  enemy's  side  of  the  river,  within  200  yards 
of  their  advance  trenches.  Never  have  I  felt  a  more  comforting 
sensation  then  when  watching  those  Japanese  shells  bursting 
just  over  our  heads,  a  little  in  advance,  the  shrapnel  from  them 
going  slap  into  the  Germans  every  time.  I  must  say  it  was  a 
magnificent  sight  when  the  Japanese  guns  were  going,  the  Ger- 
man rockets,  etc.,  and  their  machine  guns  and  rifles  joining  in 
when  they  could  get  their  heads  up.  One  had  to  shout  to  make 
oneself  heard,  and  those  who  saw  it  from  the  top  of  Heinrich  Hill 
in  rear  said  it  was  very  fine." 

During  the  early  days  of  the  siege  life  in  the  beleaguered  city 
went  on  about  as  usual.  A  large  part  of  the  civil  population  had 
withdrawn  while  there  was  yet  time,  but  enough  shops  remained 
open  to  supply  the  needs  of  those  who  remained.  Cafes  continued 
business  and  meals  were  served  without  interruption  at  the  Ger- 
man Club  throughout  the  siege,  although  toward  the  end  the  num- 

58  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT  WAR 

ber  of  those  who  gathered  at  the  club's  tables  dwindled  to  a  few 
administrative  officers  and  civilians. 

In  a  proclamation  the  day  before  the  expiration  of  the  Japanese 
ultimatum,  Governor  Meyer-Waldeck  had  expressed  the  spirit  of 
the  little  garrison  in  the  following  words ; 

"Never  shall  we  surrender  the  smallest  bit  of  ground  over 
which  the  war  flag  is  flying.  From  this  place,  which  we  with  love 
and  success  have  endeavored  during  the  last  seventeen  years  to 
shape  into  a  little  Germany  across  the  seas,  we  shall  not  retreat. 
If  the  enemy  wants  Tsing-tau,  he  must  come  and  take  it." 

Few,  if  any,  military  men  in  Tsing-tau  doubted  the  outcome  of 
the  siege;  but  every  resource  was  prepared  for  a  desperate  re- 
sistance. The  city  did  not  lack  food ;  and  after  the  surrender  it 
was  found  that  enough  still  remained  to  provision  the  garrison 
for  more  than  three  months  longer.  The  supply  of  running  water 
ceased  about  the  middle  of  October.  News  from  the  outside  world 
came  in  until  November  5,  and  invariably  it  told  of  German 

"I  remember  one  evening,"  said  the  Tsing-tau  correspondent  of 
the  Associated  Press,  and  the  only  foreign  press  representa- 
tive in  the  city  during  the  siege,  "the  roar  of  laughter  that  went 
up  in  the  German  Club  when  the  news  was  read  that  England 
had  asked  Portugal  for  assistance.  For  two  or  three  days  it 
looked,  according  to  the  news,  that  the  British  Empire  was  going 
to  pieces.  We  heard  of  revolutions  in  India,  riots  in  Alexandria, 
mutiny  and  martial  law  in  South  Africa  and  even  disaffection  in 
Sarawak  and  North  Borneo." 

When  it  became  clear  that  the  end  was  drawing  near  prepara- 
tions were  made  that  as  few  war  munitions  as  possible  should 
fall  into  the  hands  of  the  enemy..  The  warships  in  the  harbor 
that  had  escaped  the  bombardment  were  blown  up.  When  the 
big  guns  in  the  forts  had  fired  their  last  shots  the  gunners  under 
orders  destroyed  them.  In  many  cases  this  was  done  because 
without  ammunition  the  guns  were  useless. 

October  31,  1914,  the  anniversary  of  the  emperor's  birthday, 
was  selected  by  the  Japanese  and  English  for  their  final  bombard- 
ment. From  142  guns  now  occupying  commanding  positions  came 


a  deluge  of  shells  that  continued  for  seven  days.  The  gunners  by 
this  time  had  the  exact  ranges  and  wasted  no  ammunition.  The 
staffs  of  the  two  expeditionary  forces  gathered  on  Prince  Hein- 
rich  Hill  to  watch  the  final  act  of  the  passing  of  German  rule 
in  the  Far  East.  The  warships  ranged  in  the  harbor  joined  in, 
and  after  an  hour  or  two  it  became  evident  that  the  German 
defenses  would  be  swept  away  by  mere  weight  of  metal.  Under 
cover  of  this  terrific  gunfire  the  Allies'  troops  drove  their  saps 
and  trenches  up  the  very  edge  of  the  defense  works,  where  they 
waited  orders  to  take  the  place  by  storm. 

The  Germans  replied  bravely.  A  great  cloud  of  smoke  and  dust 
arose  over  the  doomed  city  visible  far  out  at  sea.  In  the  city  the 
noncombatants  took  refuge  in  their  cellars  and  helped  care  for 
the  wounded.  Almost  every  German  position,  except  the  bomb- 
proof casements  where  the  guns  stood,  was  hammered  to  pieces. 
The  electric  power  station  was  destroyed,  so  that  during  the  last 
few  nights  the  city  was  in  darkness. 

The  last  handbills  dropped  into  Tsing-tau  by  the  Japanese 
iviators  contained  the  following  appeal :  "To  the  honored  officers 
md  men  in  the  fortress :  It  is  against  the  will  of  God,  as  well  as 
the  principles  of  humanity,  to  destroy  and  render  useless  arms, 
jhips  of  war,  and  merchantmen,  and  other  works  and  construc- 
tions, not  in  obedience  to  the  necessity  of  war,  but  merely  out  of 
jpite,  lest  they  fall  into  the  hands  of  the  enemy.  Trusting,  as  we 
lo,  that,  as  you  hold  dear  the  honor  of  civilization,  you  will  not  be 
[betrayed  into  such  base  conduct,  we  beg  you,  however,  to  an- 
[nounce  to  us  your  own  view  as  mentioned  above. 

(Signed)  "The  Besieging  Army." 

It  is  needless  to  say  that  the  enemy's  plea  was  not  heeded.  By 
fovember  6, 1914,  only  spasmodic  fire  from  widely  scattered  posi- 
tions answered  the  Allies'  bombardment.  That  night  the  Japa- 
nese and  English  charged  across  open  ground  and  took  the  middle 
Port  in  the  first  line  of  defense  with  surprising  ease,  capturing 
too  prisoners.  The  charge  was  led  by  General  Yoshimi  Yamada 
it  the  head  of  companies  of  infantry  and  engineers.  At  one  point 
bhey  surprised  a  squad  of  Germans  in  charge  of  a  searchlight. 

60  THE    STOHY   OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

To  have  fired  upon  them  would  have  betrayed  the  advance  to  the 
defenders  of  the  adjacent  fort;  so,  the  story  says,  the  Germans 
were  quietly  and  quickly  dispatched  by  the  engineers  with  picks 
and  shovels. 



TSING-TAU  fell  early  on  the  morning  of  the  next  day,  Novem- 
ber 7,  1914.  Encouraged  by  the  unexpected  successes  of  the 
night,  the  Japanese  commander  gave  the  order  for  a  final  grand 
assault.  Nobody  was  more  surprised  than  the  Japanese  them- 
selves. They  had  expected  a  last-ditch  resistance  and  feared  they 
would  have  to  sacrifice  a  thousand  men  before  gaining  these  posi- 
tions commanding  the  city.  But  the  Germans,  their  ammunition 
almost  gone,  gtunned  by  the  continuous  rain  of  shells  and  broken 
by  long  fighting,  had  decided  that  further  resistance  was  useless. 

The  Japanese  infantry  occupied  the  central  positions  on  the  4 
main  line  of  defense  soon  after  midnight.  Just  before  dawn  they 
captured  the  north  battery  on  Shaotan  Hill,  then  the  east  battery 
of  Tahtungehin  and  the  Chungchiawa  fort  on  the  west.  The 
heaviest  loss  suffered  by  any  of  the  Japanese  detachments  in  the 
final  assault  fell  upon  a  company  that  was  caught  by  machine- 
gun  fire  in  an  attack  upon  Redoubt  No.  2.  Out  of  250  men  only 
87  escaped.  The  total  Japanese  casualties  in  the  final  assault 
were  450  killed  and  wounded.  The  British  casualties  were 

Daylight  found  the  Japanese  and  British  in  possession  of  every 
position  commanding  the  city  and  nearly  20,000  men  were  await- 
ing the  signal  to  charge  the  last  line  of  defenses  when  a  white 
flag  appeared  on  the  Tsing-tau  military  observatory.  Within  the 
next  hour  flags  of  surrender  were  flying  from  all  the  other  Ger- 
man forts.  So  unexpected  was  the  sudden  collapse  of  the  defense 
that  at  six  o'clock,  when  the  Governor  sent  Major  von  Kayser,  his 
adjutant,  with  a  white  flag  to  make  terms,  the  signal  of  sur- 


render  was  not  observed  and  the  Japanese,  far  from  suspecting 
the  German  officer's  purpose,  opened  fire,  killing  Von  Kayser's 
trumpeter  and  shooting  his  horse  under  him. 

The  formal  capitulation  of  Tsing-tau  came  at  7.50  o'clock  on 
the  evening  of  November  7,  1914,  when  both  sides  signed  the 
Japanese  terms.  The  Germans  surrendered  unconditionally,  but 
were  accorded  the  honors  of  war.  On  November  10,  1914,  at 
10  a.  m.,  Governor  Meyer-Waldeck  formally  transferred  posses- 
sion to  General  Kamio,  and  German's  last  foothold  in  Asia  passed 
from  her  possession. 

News  of  the  fall  of  Tsing-tau,  although  not  unexpected,  caused 
great  rejoicing  throughout  Japan  and  among  her  allies,  and  pro- 
foundly stirred  the  German  world. 

The  German  attitude  was  expressed  by  an  editorial  in  the 
Berlin  "Lokalanzeiger,"  which  said :  "Never  shall  we  forget  the 
bold  deed  of  the  yellow  robbers,  or  of  England  that  set  them  on 
to  do  it.  We  know  that  we  cannot  yet  settle  with  Japan  for  years 
to  come.  Perhaps  she  will  rejoice  over  her  cowardly  robbery. 
Here  our  mills  can  grind  but  slowly.  Even  if  the  years  pass, 
however,  we  shall  certainly  not  often  speak  of  it,  but  as  certainly 
always  think  of  it." 

The  Japanese  and  British  forces  made  formal  entry  into  the 
captured  city  on  November  16,  1914.  The  Germans  had  done  all 
in  their  power  to  destroy  supplies,  nevertheless  the  spoils  of  vic- 
tory included  100  machine  guns,  2,500  rifles,  30  field  guns,  a  small 
amount  of  ammunition,  about  $6,000  in  cash,  15,000  tons  of  coal, 
40  motor  cars,  and  a  large  quantity  of  provisions.  Prisoners 
taken  numbered  4,043,  including  the  governor  general  and  201 
German  officers  and  3,841  noncommissioned  officers  and  men. 

The  casualties  on  both  sides,  considering  the  length  of  the  siege 
and  the  intensity  of  the  gunfire  in  both  directions,  were  remark- 
ably small.  The  Japanese  had  236  killed  and  1,282  wounded,  the 
British  had  12  killed  and  63  wounded,  including  two  officers. 
The  Germans  estimated  their  losses  in  killed  and  wounded  at 
about  1,000  men.  To  the  Allies'  losses  must  be  added  10  killed 
and  56  wounded,  all  Japanese,  by  the  explosion  of  Gerp^an  land 
mines  several  days  after  the  surrender. 




THE  first  shots  of  the  Great  War  had  hardly  detonated  across 
Europe  when  their  echoes  were  heard  in  Africa.  The  war 
fever  began  to  hover  over  Germany's  colonial  possessions  in 
Africa — Togoland,  the  Cameroons,  German  Southwest  Africa, 
and,  greatest  of  all,  German  East  Africa.  Each  of  these  colonies 
became  in  turn  the  scene  of  armed  invasions  and  fierce  conflicts, 
as  important  to  the  small  forces  involved  as  the  great  campaigns 
on  the  continent  across  the  seas. 

When  Great  Britain  declared  war  on  Germany  on  August  4, 
1914,  and  the  news  flashed  across  the  world  to  the  official  repre- 
sentatives of  the  warring  nations  in  Africa,  the  British  acting 
governor  of  the  Gold  Coast  and  the  French  governor  of  Dahomey 
planned  a  concerted  campaign  by  land  in  cooperation  with  the 
warships  to  be  found  in  African  waters. 

The  first  blow  was  struck  on  August  8,  1914,  in  Togoland,  a 
country  about  the  size  of  Ireland,  lying  between  French  Dahomey 
and  the  British  Gold  Coast.  It  is  populated  by  a  million  Hausas 
and  about  400  whites.  At  the  beginning  of  the  war  the  military 
force  of  Togoland  could  not  have  exceeded  250  whites  and  3,000 
natives.  Hemmed  in  on  three  sides  by  French  and  British  terri- 
tory, with  a  coast  line  easily  approached  by  warships,  the  colonj'' 
was  not  in  a  position  to  offer  much  resistance  if  attacked. 

On  August  8,  1914,  a  British  cruiser  appeared  before  Lome, 
the  capital  of  Togoland,  and  the  town  was  surrendered  without 



a  shot  being  fired.  But  before  the  British  force  landed,  the  little 
German  army  of  about  60  Europeans  and  400  natives  fell  back  to 
Atakpame,  100  miles  in  the  interior. 

While  this  was  happening  at  Lome  an  expeditionary  force 
composed  of  the  Gold  Coast  Regiment,  with  British  officers  and 
commanded  by  Captain  F.  C.  Bryant,  R.  A.,  crossed  the  frontier 
in  motor  cars  on  August  8,  or  9,  1914,  and  a  French  force  en- 
tered Togoland  from  the  other  side.  A  few  days  later  the  Allieip 
had  possession  of  all  the  southern  part  of  Togoland,  and  advanced 
together  toward  Atakpame  to  capture  an  important  German 
wireless  station  at  Kamina  in  the  same  region. 

The  only  real  fighting  in  this  campaign  took  place  on  August 
25,  1914,  when  Captain  Bryant  and  his  forces  had  crossed  the 
Monu  River.  The  Allies  drove  the  enemy  from  his  intrench- 
ments,  seized  the  wireless  station,  and  occupied  Atakpame. 
Their  losses  were  two  officers  and  21  men  killed  and  about  50 

On  August  26, 1914,  the  Germans  surrendered  unconditionally, 
and  the  Allies  came  into  possession  of  three  Maxim  guns,  1,000 
rifles  and  320,000  rounds  of  ammunition.  It  was  stated  at  the 
time  that  the  Germans  offered  such  a  feeble  resistance  because 
many  natives,  on  whom  they  had  counted,  refused  to  take  up 
arms  against  the  British. 

Togoland  having  fallen  to  the  Allies,  it  was  arranged  between 
the  officials  of  Great  Britain  and  France  that  the  colony  should  be 
jointly  governed,  each  to  control  that  part  of  Togoland  nearest 
her  possessions.  In  a  few  months'  time  normal  trade  was  re- 
sumed in  the  Allies*  colony,  and  since  private  property  had  been 
respected  during  the  invasion,  there  was  nothing  left  to  show  that 
the  country  had  recently  been  the  scene  of  small  but  decisive  con- 
flicts, far-reaching  in  their  effects. 

The  action  in  the  African  war  drama  now  shifts  to  the  Came- 
roons  (German  Kamerun  Colony) ,  which  Germany  took  posses- 
sion of  in  1884.  It  has  a  seacoast  of  about  200  miles  on  the  Bight 
of  Biafra.  To  the  northeast  and  south  are  the  British  Protec- 
torate of  Nigeria  and  French  Equatorial  Africa.  The  country  is 
largely  mountainous  and  is  290,000  square  miles  in  extent.    Be- 

-  ^  -  5— War  St.  3 

64  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT  WAR 

fore  the  war  there  were  less  than  2,000  whites  among  a  popula- 
tion  of  2,500,000  negroes,  principally  of  the  Bantu  race. 

The  Cameroons,  though  surrounded  by  territory  of  the  Allies, 
was  a  more  difficult  country  to  conquer  than  Togoland,  owing  to 
its  natural  advantages  and  the  difficulties  of  communication  over 
great  distances.  The  first  moves  of  the  Allies  met  with  disaster. 
It  was  in  the  African  rainy  season  and  misadventures  multiplied 
as  the  invading  troops  marched  through  a  wild  and  badly  mapped 
country.  It  was  decided  between  the  Allies  that  two  French  col- 
umns should  move  from  French  Congo,  while  British  columns  en- 
tered at  different  points  on  the  frontier  of  Nigeria. 

On  August  8,  1914,  a  detachment  of  mounted  infantry  of  the 
West  African  Frontier  Force  left  Kano  and,  marching  400  miles 
in  seventeen  days  through  West  Africa,  got  in  touch  with  the 
Germans  at  Tepe,  a  frontier  station  just  inside  the  Cameroons. 
In  the  fierce  engagement  that  followed  the  Germans  were  re- 
pulsed, losing  five  officers  and  suffering  other  casualties. 

On  August  29,  1914,  the  river  station  of  Garua  was  attacked, 
and  here  one  of  the  most  disastrous  battles  of  the  campaign  was 
fought.  On  August  31,  1914,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Maclear,  com- 
manding the  Royal  Dublin  Fusiliers  and  native  troops,  left  their 
intirenchments  400  yards  from  the  German  forts  and  advanced  to 
attack.  The  German  gunners  having  perfect  range,  poured  a 
murderous  fire  from  machine  guns  on  the  British  forces.  The 
native  troops  wavered  and  fled,  leaving  British  officers  in  the 
trenches,  and  these  in  turn  were  soon  forced  to  fly  to  escape  com- 
plete annihilation.  Lieutenant  Colonel  Maclear  was  killed,  and 
of  the  31  other  officers  only  10  escaped,  while  40  per  cent  of  the 
native  troops  were  lost.  The  remainder  of  the  British  force  re- 
treated into  Nigeria  in  such  an  exhausted  condition  that  had  the 
Germans  followed  up  their  victory  not  a  man  would  have  escaped. 

The  second  British  expedition  which  entered  the  Cameroons 
from  a  more  westerly  point  along  the  Nigerian  frontier  occupied, 
after  slight  resistance,  the  German  station  of  Nsanakong  a  few 
miles  from  the  border,  where  a  week  later  the  Germans  attacked 
in  force  at  two  o^clock  in  the  morning.  The  British  resisted  stub- 
bornly, but,  having  exhausted  their  ammunition,  the  garrison 



\  GEBMAK^^^ 


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,1        J    EGYPT  "UwV     "7^ 

FRENCH  < J^>'         ^ 

WEST     AFRICA     "^^-^  ^^^'^%v  \ 

>C^.L"."; ^J    11    {NIGERIA 

LOaNEV'     ICQAST  1 


^^—^^  \   BRITISH      J'^^^^// 

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O      A 

I  ANGOLA"    /"^-OX 















66  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

tried  to  cut  their  way  out  with  the  bayonet.  The  British  lost 
three  officers,  while  large  numbers  of  native  soldiers  were  killed 
or  made  prisoners.  The  remainder,  escaping  to  the  bush,  after 
many  hardships  found  their  way  back  to  Nigeria.  Another  Brit- 
ish expedition  from  Calabar,  near  the  coast,  occupied  Archibong, 
August  29,  1914,  while  about  the  same  time  a  German  force  took 
possession  of  the  Nigerian  station  of  Okuri. 

The  British  had  failed  by  land ;  they  were  more  successful  on 
the  sea,  as  will  be  seen  in  the  chapter  on  Naval  Operations.  On 
September  4,  1914,  an  attempt  was  made  by  the  Germans  to 
wreck  the  British  gunboat  Dwarf,  which  with  the  cruiser  Cum- 
berland was  watching  German  ships  in  the  Cameroon  estuary. 
The  German  merchantman  Nachtigal  tried  later  to  ram  the  same 
gunboat  and  wrecked  herself  with  a  loss  of  36  men.  Further 
attempts  to  destroy  the  Dwarf  also  failed. 

The  British  now  taking  the  offensive  cleared  the  channel  for 
three  miles,  where  the  Germans  had  sown  mines  and  sunk  10  or 
12  steamboats  to  obstruct  the  waterway  to  Duala,  the  capital  of 
the  Cameroons.  H.M.S.  Challenger  and  five  troopships  joined 
the  Dwarf  and  Cumberland  on  September  26,  1914,  and,  moving 
on  Duala,  bombarded  the  town. 

On  September  27, 1914,  the  Germans  offered  to  surrender  Duala 
unconditionally,  and  on  September  28,  1914,  Brigadier  General 
C.  M.  Dobell  came  ashore  and  took  it  over.  About  the  same  time 
a  battalion  landing  at  Bonaberi,  across  the  river  from  Duala, 
capitulated  after  some  desultory  fighting.  The  wireless  station  at 
Duala  was  found  to  have  been  wrecked,  but  the  British  took  sev- 
eral hundred  prisoners,  captured  8  merchantmen  with  valuable 
cargoes  and  the  German  gunboat  Soden,  which  was  at  once  put 
into  commission  in  the  British  navy.  While  the  British  were 
successful  around  Duala,  a  French  force  by  sea  from  Libreville, 
French  Congo,  escorted  by  their  warship  Surpris,  attacked 
Ukoko  on  Corisco  Bay,  south  of  the  Cameroons,  during  which  the 
armed  vessels  Khios  and  Itolo  were  sunk. 

The  Allies  had  captured  the  chief  port  and  controlled  the  coast, 
but  the  most  difficult  work  lay  before  them  in  the  mountainous 
and  almost  roadless  region  still  to  be  conquered.   The  retreating 


Germans  occupied  a  defensive  position  on  a  river  at  Japona,  where 
on  October  8,  1914,  a  French  column  came  up  with  them,  forced 
a  bridge,  and  compelled  them  to  continue  their  retreat. 

On  October  8,  1914,  Colonel  E.  H.  Gorges,  commanding  a  Brit- 
ish naval  and  military  force  and  four  field  guns,  sailed  up  the 
Wuri  in  launches  and  found  the  enemy  intrenched  near  Jabassi. 
The  British  made  a  spirited  attack,  but  were  driven  back  by  the 
accurate  fire  of  the  enemy.  After  a  flank  attack  failed,  the  order 
was  given  to  retreat,  and  the  British  returned  to  Duala. 

The  Allies  reenforced,  and  with  two  6-inch  guns  resumed  the 
attack  on  October  14,  1914,  when  the  German  batteries  were 
soon  silenced.  After  a  brisk  engagement  the  infantry  occupied 
Jabassi,  taking  ten  European  prisoners.  Minor  successes  won 
by  the  Allies  at  this  time  were  the  defeat  of  the  Germans  at  Susa, 
and  the  occupation  of  the  region  around  Mora,  near  Lake  Chad 
by  a  Nigerian  Regiment  which  had  entered  the  colony  from  the 

Two  columns  of  Anglo-French  troops  under  Brigadier  General 
Dobell^  with  Colonel  Mayer  commanding  the  French  colonial  in- 
fantry, followed  the  retreating  Germans  to  Edea  on  the  Sanaga 
River,  some  fifty  miles  from  Duala.  Part  of  the  road  led  through 
a  thick  forest  where  snipers  were  concealed,  who  harassed  the 
expedition  at  every  step  and  were  dislodged  with  great  difficulty. 

On  October  26, 1914,  Edea  was  taken  without  resistance,  and  the 
enemy  retired  to  Yaunde,  a  station  far  in  the  interior.  Mujuka, 
a  station  about  fifty  miles  from  Duala,  was  occupied  by  the 
British  a  few  weeks  later. 

Early  in  November,  1914,  General  Dobell  planned  an  attack  on 

le  German  capital  of  Buea,  and  its  seaport  Victoria.    The  latter 

)lace  was  bombarded  by  the  French  cruiser  Bruix  and  the  yacht 

llvy;  marines  were  landed,  and  after  a  short  and  spirited  fight  it 

[was  taken,  while  the  enemy,  who  had  concentrated  on  the  hills 

leading  to  Buea,  were  scattered  by  the  Allies'  forces  advancing 

:rom  different  directions. 

The  Germans  made  a  determined  effort  to  regain  Edea,  but 
'^ere  forced  to  retire  with  a  loss  of  20  Europeans  and  54  natives. 
Meanwhile,  in  the  hinterland,  the  French  General,  Aymerich, 

68  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

with  a  force  of  men  and  a  steamer  loaned  by  the  authorities  of 
the  Belgian  Congo  drove  the  enemy  from  the  Congo-Ubanghi 
region,  which  had  been  given  to  Germany  in  1911.  After  two 
days  of  strenuous  fighting  the  German  posts  of  Numen  and  Nola 
were  taken,  and  some  officers,  guns,  and  ammunition. 

The  greatest  campaign  in  December,  1914,  was  the  capture  of 
the  entire  northern  railway  line,  with  rolling  stock,  locomotives, 
two  aeroplanes,  and  about  sixty  white  men.  Mendawi,  Bare,  and 
Nkongsamba  were  other  posts  taken  at  this  period. 

At  the  close  of  the  year  the  Cameroons  were  not  conquered, 
but  the  Germans  had  been  driven  into  the  interior,  could  not 
secure  supplies,  and  it  was  only  a  question  of  time  when  they 
must  surrender  or  be  annihilated.  The  allied  forces  were  con- 
stantly harrying  their  enemy. 

The  Allies'  next  movement  was  an  advance  in  three  columns 
against  Yaunde,  where  they  fought  two  little  battles  January  27- 
28,  1915,  and  seized  the  post  of  Bersona.  Near  the  coast  some 
important  operations  were  successful. 



GERMAN  Southwest  Africa,  to  which  we  will  now  turn,  was  in 
a  different  situation  at  the  outbreak  of  the  war  from  that  of 
the  German  colonies  of  the  east  and  west.  Over  the  frontier  was 
a  self-governing  dominion,  the  Union  of  South  Africa,  with  an 
independent  parliament  made  up  of  a  strange  mixture  of  differ- 
ent parties.  The  irreconcilables  in  the  Dutch  population  who  had 
dreamed  of  a  greater  Afrikander  Republic,  would  they  not  take 
this  opportunity  to  side  with  Germany  who  promised  to  further 
their  ambitions  ?  Great  Britain  expected  some  trouble  from  this 
element  in  the  Union,  and  prepared  for  the  worst,  while  Germany 
was  equally  active,  and  there  was  much  intriguing  to  persuade 

REBELLION    IN   UNION   OF   SOUTH    AFRICA         69 

the  Dutch  to  cast  in  their  lot  with  them.  In  other  parts  of  Africa, 
Germany  had  to  fight  her  battles  unaided,  but  here  in  the  enemy's 
camp  there  was  every  hope  of  gaining  powerful  assistance. 
Until  the  situation  in  the  Union  became  clear,  it  was  Germany's 
part  to  defend  her  colony  in  Southwest  Africa,  hoping  by  a  brave 
display  of  arms  to  win  over  the  Dutch,  who  were  bitter  against 

German  Southwest  Africa  enjoys  many  natural  advantages. 
Her  capital  is  far  in  the  interior.  Between  her  railway  on  the 
south,  which  almost  reaches  the  Cape  frontier,  and  her  border 
spreads  out  the  desert  of  Kalahari  and  the  arid,  waterless  plains 
of  northwest  Cape  Colony.  The  branch  railways  are  separated 
by  about  200  miles  from  German  territory,  and  on  the  northern 
line  Kimberley  was  a  little  less  than  400  miles  distant.  British 
forces  entering  the  colony  by  land  must  encounter  many  diffi- 
culties, especially  in  the  desert  region,  which  the  Germans  left 
undefended  because  they  believed  it  could  not  be  crossed  by 

Before  the  war,  according  to  the  official  returns,  the  colony  had 
a  force  of  3,500  men,  mainly  whites ;  but  with  reserves  and  vol- 
unteers from  among  the  population  of  German  blood  it  has  been 
variously  estimated  that  an  army  of  from  6,000  to  10,000  men 
could  be  gathered  together.  The  Germans  were  believed  to  be 
strong  in  artillery,  and  were  known  to  have  sixty-six  batteries  of 
Maxims.    There  was  also  a  camel  corps  500  strong. 

After  the  declaration  of  war  in  August,  1914,  Dr.  Seitz,  the 
German  Governor,  began  to  carry  out  his  plan  of  defense.  In 
the  second  week  of  August,   1914,   the   Germans   abandoned 

ISwakopmund  and  Luderitz  Bay,  their  principal  stations  on  the 
coast,  and  after  destroying  the  jetty  and  tugs  in  harbor,  retired 
[With  their  military  stores  to  Windhoek,  the  inland  capital.  In  the 
last  weeks  in  August  they  made  short  dashes  into  British  terri- 
tory, intrenching  themselves  in  some  places,  and  occasionally  en- 
gaged in  a  skirmish  with  farmers  on  the  frontier. 

Thus,  when  the  Union  Parliament  met  September  8,  1914,  it 
was  informed  by  General  Botha,  the  Premier,  that  Germany  had 
begun  hostilities  against  the  British  colonies.    On  the  following 

70  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

day,  as  a  challenge  to  the  pro-German  party,  he  moved  a  resolu- 
tion to  convey  to  King  George  an  address,  assuring  him  of  the 
loyal  support  of  the  Union.  Upon  this  General  Hertzog  moved  an 
amendment  to  the  effect  that  attacking  German  territory  in  South 
Africa  was  against  the  interests  of  the  Union  and  the  empire. 
But  the  victory  was  with  General  Botha's  Government  when  the 
questions  were  voted  on.  Only  12  of  the  104  votes  cast  were  in 
favor  of  Hertzog's  amendment. 

It  was  evident  that  many  burghers  living  in  districts  on  the 
borders  of  German  Southwest  Africa  shared  Hertzog's  opinion, 
and  were  opposed  to  taking  offensive  measures  against  the  Ger- 
man colony  as  long  as  the  Union  was  left  in  peace.  From  the 
time  that  Hertzog  had  been  dropped  from  Botha's  cabinet  he  had 
posed  as  a  martyr.  His  adherents  believed  that  he  had  been 
"sacrificed  to  please  the  English,"  and  that  Botha  was  merely  a 
tool  in  the  hands  of  the  British  Government. 

The  spirit  of  rebellion  in  the  Union  did  not  show  itself  openly 
for  some  time,  but  the  leaders — Beyers,  De  Wet,  Maritz,  and 
Kemp — ^were  busy  conspiring  and  stirring  up  disaffection 
among  the  burghers  who  had  never  become  reconciled  to  the 

De  Wet,  because  of  his  world-wide  fame  during  the  Boer  War, 
has  been  given  undue  prominence  for  the  part  he  played  in 
the  rebellion.  He  was  not  the  head  and  front  of  the  move- 
ment, though  his  name  was  one  to  conjure  with  among  the 
disaffected  Boers,  and  he  proved  to  be  a  valuable  recruiting 
agent.  His  operations  during  the  rebellion,  as  will  be  subse- 
quently shown,  were  generally  ineffective  in  the  field,  and  ter- 
minated ingloriously,  before  he  could  work  any  great  harm. 

General  Beyers,  the  most  dangerous  foe  the  Union  had  in  the 
rebellion,  was  a  direct  contrast  to  the  rude  and  unlettered  De 
Wet.  He  was  young  and  brave,  and  had  shown  himself  one  of  the 
ablest  soldiers  the  British  had  to  fight  against  during  the  Boer 
War.  He  looked  the  dashing  officer  that  he  was — ^tall,  straight, 
black  bearded,  and  with  his  pleasant  manners  and  easy  speech 
he  was  just  the  man  to  inspire  enthusiasm  in  others. 

Colonel  Maritz  and  Colonal  Kemp,  the  other  chief  leaders  in  the 

REBELLION    IN   UNION    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA         71 

rebellion,  had  never  been  as  prominent  in  South  African  affairs 
as  Beyers  and  De  Wet.  Maritz  had  shown  ability  as  a  leader  in 
the  Boer  War,  had  held  various  military  positions  since,  and  at 
the  beginning  of  the  European  War  was  in  command  of  the 
South  African  border  between  the  Union  and  German  Southwest 
Africa,  to  which  he  had  been  appointed  by  Beyers,  who  was 
commandant  general  of  the  citizen  forces.  General  Smuts,  the 
Minister  of  Defense,  may  have  suspected  some  sinister  motives 
in  this  appointment,  for  Maritz  had  many  friends  in  the  German 
colony,  but  for  the  present  he  had  to  keep  his  suspicions  to  him- 
self and  await  some  overt  act  of  offense. 

Colonel  Kemp,  the  remaining  chief  leader,  had  never  done  any- 
thing to  give  him  special  prominence.  He  had  proved  himself  an 
efficient  soldier  during  the  Boer  War,  and  appears  to  have  been 
in  command  of  a  training  camp  in  the  western  Transvaal  when 
the  rebellion  was  started. 

Under  these  four  leaders,  acting  independently,  or  in  conjunc- 
tion with  them,  were  subleaders,  an  indefinite  number,  members 
of  the  Government,  and  men  connected  with  the  church  and  army, 
whose  part  in  the  rebellion  was  to  stir  up  the  people. 

An  interesting  character  among  the  somewhat  nebulous  sub- 
leaders  in  the  rebellion  was  Van  Rensburg,  sometimes  called 
"Prophet"  Lichtenberg,  from  the  place  where  he  lived.  During 
the  Boer  War  he  had  predicted  a  remarkable  victory  for  the 
Boers,  which  had  resulted  in  the  capture  of  Lord  Metiiuen,  and 
ever  since  the  burghers  of  the  Union  had  held  him  in  reverential 
awe.  When  the  war  with  Germany  broke  out  he  made  various 
prophecies.  He  discovered  that  the  events  foretold  in  the  Book 
of  Revelation  would  now  take  place.  Germany,  he  said,  had 
been  divinely  ordained  to  conquer  the  world  and  purify  it.  Any 
attempt  to  resist  this  divine  ordinance  would  be  punished  by  the 
righteous  anger  of  an  offended  deity.  Nor  was  the  "prophet'*  for- 
getful of  local  politics,  for  he  had  another  "vision"  in  which  he 
predicted  that  Generals  Delarey,  Beyers,  and  De  Wet  were 
divinely  appointed  leaders,  who  would  restore  the  old  republic. 
These  "prophecies"  were  spread  broadcast  throughout  the  Union^ 
were  eagerly  believed  by  the  superstitious  burghers,  and  served 

72  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

to  hearten  up  the  disaffected  who  had  some  grudge  against  the 

A  great  meeting  of  the  burghers  was  summoned  to  meet 
August  15,  1914,  at  Treurfontein.  This  date  had  been  fixed  be- 
cause Van  Rensburg  in  a  "vision"  had  seen  "a  dark  cloud,  with 
blood  flowing  from  it,  inscribed  with  number  15,  and  General 
Delarey,  the  uncrowned  king  of  western  Transvaal,  returning 
home  without  his  hat,  followed  by  a  carriage  full  of  flowers." 
Eight  hundred  burghers  attended  the  meeting,  but  Delarey,  who 
spoke,  had  been  warned  by  General  Botha,  and  therefore  spoke 
calmly,  urging  the  burghers  to  remain  cool  and  await  events. 
Such  was  Delarey's  influence  over  the  assembly,  who  had  come 
expecting  to  make  a  fiery  speech,  that  a  resolution  expressing 
confidence  in  the  Government  was  passed. 

On  September  15,  1914,  General  Christian  Beyers  resigned 
his  position  of  commandant  general  of  the  defense  force  in  a 
letter  which  was  practically  a  declaration  of  war  against  the 
British  Empire.    It  developed  that  for  some  weeks  he  had  been 
organizing  rebellion.     He  was  secretly  arranging  a  scheme  of 
operations  in  which  the  German  forces  were  to  take  part,  while 
making  plans  for  the  Union  Government.    He  hoped  to  win  over 
General  Delarey,  leader  of  the  Boers  in  the  western  Transvaal,] 
but  this  officer  was  accidentally  killed  by  the  police  near  Johan- 
nesburg.   The  patrol  out  looking  for  the  notorious  Jackson  gan| 
of  bandits,  then  in  the  neighborhood,  had  orders  to  examine  anj 
motor  car  and  fire  at  once,  if  when  summoned  to  stop  their  chal- 
lenge was  ignored.  The  car  bearing  Generals  Beyers  and  Delare] 
had  been  twice  challenged  while  passing  through  the  town.    Th< 
third  time  a  policeman  fired  at  the  wheel  to  disable  the  car,  an< 
the  bullet  ricocheted  and  killed  Delarey. 

A  thousand  armed  Boers  at  this  time  were  encamped  a1 
Potchefstroom  in  Delarey's  district.  Colonel  Kemp,  who  ha( 
sent  in  his  resignation  to  the  Union  Government,  and  was  work- 
ing here  for  Delarey,  had  won  over  their  officers,  and  on  parade} 
urged  the  men  to  refuse  to  volunteer  for  German  Southwest 
Africa.  He  also  collected  in  his  tent  such  ammunition  as  he  coul( 
lay  his  hands  upon. 

REBELLION    IN   UNION    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA        73 

The  death  of  General  Delarey  disconcerted  General  Beyers, 
and  his  fellow  conspirators,  and  Colonel  Kemp  withdrew  his 
resignation  from  the  Union  army.  Over  the  grave  of  Delarey 
General  Beyers,  in  the  presence  of  General  Botha,  declared  that 
he  had  no  intention  of  advising  or  causing  a  rebellion,  yet  the 
following  day,  with  General  De  Wet  and  others,  he  was  urging 
the  Boers  who  had  come  to  the  funeral  of  their  dead  leader  to 
revolt  against  active  service  should  the  commandos  be  called 
out  under  the  Defense  Act. 

Botha  knew  the  men  who  were  stirring  up  rebellion  and  acted 
quickly.  He  called  for  volunteers,  announcing  that  he  would 
lead  in  person  the  Union  forces  against  the  Germans,  and  the 
immediate  response  he  received  was  gratifying.  The  conspira- 
tors remained  quiet  for  some  weeks,  but  General  Beyers  and  De 
Wet  were  secretly  at  work  against  the  Government  of  the  Union. 

On  September  26,  1914,  Colonel  Grant  and  a  small  force  of 
African  Rifles  and  Transvaal  Horse  Artillery  operating  at  Sand- 
fontein  near  the  German  border  were  trapped  by  two  German 
battalions  while  on  their  way  to  a  water  hole.  From  the  heights 
the  German  guns  swept  the  circular  basin  below  where  the  Union 
force  was  gathered.  The  advantage  was  all  in  favor  of  the 
Germans.  High  explosive  shells  from  ten  guns  wrought  havoc 
among  the  South  African  soldiers,  but  not  until  their  ammunition 
ran  out  and  every  man  of  their  gun  crews  was  either  killed  or 
wounded  would  the  little  band  of  Boers  and  Britons  surrender. 
It  developed  later  that  Lieutenant  Colonel  S.  G.  Maritz,  a  Boer 
leader  commanding  Union  forces  in  the  Northwest  territory, 
had  turned  traitor  and  arranged  the  disaster.  It  was  through 
General  Beyers  that  he  had  been  appointed  to  an  important  com* 
mand  on  the  German  border. 

Maritz  who  was  now  ordered  by  General  Smuts,  Minister  of 
Defense,  to  report  to  headquarters  and  give  up  his  command, 
sent  a  defiant  reply  October  8,  1914.  He  stated  that  in  addition 
to  his  own  troops  he  had  German  guns  and  men,  and  had  signed 
an  agreement  with  the  Governor  of  Southwest  Africa  ceding 
Walfish  Bay  (a  British  possession)  and  certain  portions  of 
Union  territory  in  return  for  a  guarantee  of  the  independence 

74  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

of  the  South  African  Republic.  All  his  officers  and  men  who 
were  unwilling  to  join  with  him  had  been  sent  as  prisoners  into 
German  territory. 

General  Botha  replied  to  the  rebel  by  proclaiming  martial 
law  throughout  the  Union.  General  Brits,  with  the  imperial 
Light  Horse,  was  sent  to  capture  Maritz,  and  in  an  engagement 
October  15,  1914,  at  Ratedraai,  near  Upington,  took  seventy 
rebel  prisoners. 

On  October  22,  1914,  Maritz  with  1,000  rebels  and  seventy 
German  gunners,  attacked  at  dawn  the  post  of  Keimos,  where 
there  were  only  150  loyalists.  The  little  garrison  held  out  until 
reenf  orcements  arrived  and  the  battle  then  turned  against  Maritz, 
who  offered  to  surrender  for  a  free  pardon.  This  being  refused, 
the  fight  went  on,  and  Maritz  eventually  fled  wounded  into  Ger- 
man territory.  Two  days  later  a  party  of  rebels  with  German 
gunners  were  defeated  at  Kakamas. 

General  Hertzog,  who  had  represented  the  pro-German  party 
in  the  Union  Parliament,  gathered  a  commando  and  broke  out 
in  revolt  on  October  21,  1914.  He  issued  a  manifesto  complain- 
ing of  English  oppression,  and  announced  that  he  would  tolerate 
it  no  longer.  Three  members  of  the  Union  Parliament  and  a 
member  of  the  Defense  Council,  Mr.  Wessel-Wessels,  came  out 
in  arms.  In  the  western  Transvaal  and  the  northern  Free  State 
the  rebel  leaders  had  about  10,000  men  in  separate  groups. 
Their  plan  was  to  join  their  commandos  with  a  force  under 
Maritz  from  German  Southwest  Africa. 

The  situation  from  a  military  point  of  view  seemed  to  be 
serious  for  the  Union,  but  Generals  Botha  and  Smuts  w^ere 
active  and  resourceful  and  in  a  few  weeks  had  40,000  men  in 
the  field.  The  loyal  Boers  were  in  a  difficult  position,  for  now 
they  were  asked  to  fight  against  their  own  kith  and  kin  for  the 
British  Empire.  In  battle  the  Dutch  generals  showed  that  they 
were  anxious  to  spare  their  own  kinsmen,  and  ordered  their  men 
to  withhold  firing  to  the  last  moment,  hoping  that  the  rebels 
would  surrender.  The  rebels  were  not  allowed  time  to  join 
their  forces,  for  General  Botha  gave  them  no  rest  night  or  day. 

On  October  27,  1914,  General  Beyers  and  his  commando 


operating  near  Rustenburg  were  driven  in  headlong  flight  all 
day  long  by  General  Botha  and  a  force  of  loyalists.  Two  days 
later  General  Beyers  was  a  fugitive.  His  scattered  commandos 
were  defeated  by  Colonel  Alberts  at  Lichtenburg  and  again  at 
Zuitpansdrift  on  November  5,  1914.  Meanwhile,  Colonel  Kemp, 
who  had  been  acting  with  General  Beyers,  now  separated  from 
his  chief,  and  with  a  large  force  started  for  German  Southwest 
Africa,  pursued  by  Colonel  Alberts.  Beyers,  trying  to  get  in 
touch  with  De  Wet,  entered  the  Orange  Free  State,  closely  fol- 
lowed by  a  large  loyalist  force  under  Colonel  Lemmer. 

On  November  7,  1914,  Beyers's  commando  was  attacked  by 
Lemmer  near  the  Vet  River  and  though  Beyers  led  in  person, 
he  was  defeated,  and,  364  of  his  men  being  captured  and  about 
20  killed  or  wounded,  the  fugitive  remnant  returned  to  Hoopstad. 
De  Wet,  whom  General  Beyers  had  been  prevented  from  join- 
ing by  the  activity  of  the  loyalist  forces,  had  gathered  together 
in  the  northern  districts  of  the  Orange  Free  State  a  poorly 
organized  body  of  soldiers,  but  sufficient  in  numbers  to  cause 
the  South  African  Government  some  anxiety.  Negotiations 
between  the  Free  State  leaders  and  De  Wet  postponed  for  a 
time  any  military  action  by  the  Government,  but  the  old  guerrilla 
captain  was  not  to  be  pacified.  There  had  been  a  rivalry  between 
him  and  Botha  in  the  Boer  war,  and  he  seemed  anxious  to 
measure  strength  now  with  a  soldier  whom  he  considered  his 

De  Wet*s  name  was  a  power  in  the  land,  especially  among 
the  "poor  whites"  and  the  squatter  class,  who  without  much 
intelligence  or  education  had  not  prospered  under  new  conditions 
in  the  Union.  They  were  without  hope  for  the  future  and  felt 
that  they  were  being  crowded  out  by  the  more  active  spirits  in 
the  country.  They  saw  in  the  rebellion  a  chance  to  improve 
their  economic  position.  There  was  little  to  lose  and  much 
might  be  won.  A  new  Afrikander  Republic  would  bring  back 
the  old  days  for  which  they  had  never  ceased  to  long  for.  It 
was  from  this  class  of  malcontents  that  De  Wet  drew  the  bulk 
of  his  men.  The  rest  were  religious  fanatics,  disgruntled 
politicians,  wastrels  and  adventurers. 

76  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

We  have  said  previously  that  De  Wet's  recruits  were  poorly 
organized.  It  was  a  weakness  of  this  brilliant  guerrilla  fighter 
that  he  could  not  maintain  discipline  when  handling  a  large 
body  of  men,  and  the  sort  of  troops  he  was  working  with  in 
the  rebellion  called  for  the  sternest  kind  of  authority  to  make 
them  effective  soldiers.  He  only  enjoyed  a  month  of  free- 
dom and  covered  considerable  territory,  but  he  accomplished 
very  little  from  a  military  point  of  view.  He  could  not  follow 
the  same  tactics  that  he  had  employed  in  the  Boer  war  with 
equal  success  now.  At  home  on  the  back  of  a  horse,  it  was 
impossible  for  him  to  slip  through  the  enemy's  lines  as  of  old 
when  there  were  motor  cars  to  pursue.  He  began  his  campaign 
with  an  action  at  Winburg  where  he  defeated  a  small  loyalist 
commando  under  Cronje,  and  where  one  of  his  sons  was  killed. 

A  battle  of  considerable  importance  was  fought  on  November 
12,  1914,  at  Marquard  to  the  east  of  Winburg.  General  Botha 
and  his  Transvaal  commando  by  a  forced  night  march  had 
reached  Winburg  the  day  before  and  getting  in  touch  with  De 
Wet's  forces  encircled  them  on  the  east  and  northeast.  Colonel 
Brandt  at  the  same  time  led  his  commando  from  Winburg  within 
easy  reach  of  De  Wet,  while  General  Lukin  and  Colonel  Brits 
moving  forward  from  the  west  completed  the  hemming  in  of  the 
enemy.  General  Botha's  commando  attacked  De  Wet's  forces 
sand  defeated  them  with  great  loss.  If  General  Lukin  and 
Colonel  Brits  had  not  been  delayed  in  taking  up  their  positions 
all  the  rebels  would  have  been  captured.  The  victory  was 
especially  of  far-reaching  importance  because  it  discouraged  De 
Wet's  hopes  and  strengthened  the  loyalist  cause.  All  of  De 
Wet's  stores  of  food  and  ammunition  were  taken,  and  a  hundred 
carts,  wagons  and  motor  cars,  while  the  prisoners  numbered 
about  250. 

De  Wet,  with  a  Boer  commando  in  pursuit,  now  fled  up  the 
Vet  River,  then  turning  south  at  Boshof ,  divided  his  decreasing 
force  into  two  divisions.  Leading  one  of  these  he  turned  again 
north,  reaching  the  Vaal  River  with  only  25  men  remaining  of 
the  2,000  he  had  fought  with  at  Marquard. 

Beaten  back  by  a  loyal  outpost  he  succeeded  in  crossing  the 


Vaal  on  November  21,  1914,  closely  pursued  by  Commandant 
Dutoit  and  a  motor  car  contingent  from  Witwatersrand.  De 
Wet's  followers  had  gradually  deserted,  and  he  had  only  four 
men  with  him  when  he  succeeded  in  joining  a  small  commando  of 
fugitives  gathered  at  Schweizer  Renek.  The  heavy  rainstorms 
at  this  time  favored  him  as  he  started  with  this  force  to  follow 
Colonel  Kemp  and  join  Maritz  in  German  Southwest  Africa, 
for  the  motor  cars  in  pursuit  could  make  small  progress  over 
the  heavy  roads.  Crossing  Bechuanaland  on  November  25,  1914, 
De  Wet  was  pursued  by  another  loyalist  force  under  Colonel 
Brits  who  in  two  days  captured  half  of  the  fugitives. 

On  December  1, 1914,  at  a  farm  at  Waterburg,  about  a  hundred 
miles  from  Mafeking,  De  Wet  and  his  party  of  52  men  sur- 
rendered to  Colonel  Jordaan  without  firing  a  shot,  and  the  one- 
time Commander  in  Chief  of  the  Orange  Free  State  forces  was 
imprisoned  at  Johannesburg  to  await  his  trial  for  high  treason. 

In  the  Orange  Free  State,  General  Beyers  and  about  seventy 
men  harried  by  loyal  commandos  divided  his  party,  and  leading 
one  group  made  a  dash  for  the  Vaal  River  pursued  by  Captain 
Uys  and  Cornet  Deneker  with  a  small  force.  Trapped  at  day- 
break on  December  9,  1914,  near  the  Vaal,  Beyers  and  a  few 
men  tried  to  swim  the  river  to  the  Transvaal  under  a  fierce  fire. 
Beyers  was  seen  to  fall  from  his  horse,  and  was  heard  to  cry 
for  help,  but  was  drowned  before  anyone  could  come  to-  the 

General  Botha's  operations  in  the  northern  district  of  the 
Orange  Free  State  were  made  difficult  because  of  the  heavy  fogs, 
but  early  in  December,  1914,  the  rebels  were  in  sore  straits,  500 
being  captured  while  200  surrendered  to  Commandant  Kloppers 
a  loyalist,  who  had  been  taken  a  prisoner  and  was  afterwards 

General  Maritz,  Colonel  Kemp,  and  the  "Prophet"  Litchten- 
burg  had  fled  west,  and  after  some  fighting  at  Kurumun,  and 
two  minor  successes,  surprising  two  posts  at  Langklip  and 
Onydas  which  they  were  forced  to  abandon  on  the  arrival  of 
reenforcements,  they  retired  toward  the  German  frontier  where 
they  were  penned  in  by  the  Union  forces. 


On  January  24, 1915,  the  rebels  made  their  last  sally,  attacking: 
Colonel  Van  der  Venter  at  Upington.  The  rebel  force,  about  1,200 
strong  and  led  by  Maritz  and  Kemp,  was  easily  repulsed.  On 
February  3,  1915,  Maritz,  having  fled  to  German  territory, 
Colonel  Kemp  and  his  commando  of  43  officers  and  486  men  in- 
cluding the  "Prophet"  Lichtenburg  surrendered. 




llllll Illllllllll* 




DURING  the  greater  part  of  the  winter  of  1914-15,  the  fighting 
along  the  western  front  had  been  almost  constant,  but  had 
resulted  in  little  that  either  side  could  justly  assert  to  be  a  suc- 
cess. The  rigors  inevitable  in  such  a  mode  of  wa,rfare  had  be- 
come almost  beyond  human  endurance,  and  commanders  on  both 
sides  looked  forward  to  a  more  active  campaign. 

An  immense  amount  of  ammunition  had  been  stored  by  the 
French  in  and  around  Perthes  in  anticipation  of  a  forward 
movement ;  and,  by  the  second  week  of  February,  a  quarter  of  a 
n/illion  men  of  the  French  army  had  been  assembled  near  that 
place.  They  were  opposite  a  section  of  the  German  trenches 
which  was  about  twelve  miles  long,  extending  from  Ville-sur- 
Tourbe  in  the  Argonne  to  the  village  of  Souain.  Early  in  the  year 
this  section  had  been  held  by  only  two  divisions  of  Rhinelanders. 
These  two  divisions  had  suffered  severely  from  the  heavy  gun 
fire  which  the  French  had  directed  against  them  by  means  of  the 
successful  work  of  the  French  aviators.  The  French  infantry 
also  had  done  effective  work  in  the  short  rush  which  they  had 
been  making,  gaining  on  an  average  about  twelve  yards  a  day. 
Following  the  concentration  of  French  troops,  the  German  com- 
manders brought  up  reenforcements  to  the  number  of  80,000. 
Some  of  these  were  taken  from  La  Bassee,  and  others  from  a  con- 
tingent which  had  been  intended  for  a  northern  offensive  move- 

Because  of  the  chalk  formation  of  the  soil  in  this  section  of  the 
front,  the  excessive  moisture  of  this  season  of  the  year  drained 

79  6— War  St.  3 

m  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

rapidly,  leaving  exposed  an  undulating  section  on  which  were 
small  forests  of  fir  trees.  The  nature  of  the  ground  made  it  an 
easy  matter  to  move  troops  even  in  winter.  General  Joffre  took 
advantage  of  this  fact,  and  assembled  a  quarter  of  a  million  men 
against  the  German  lines  in  Champagne.  This  caused  the  Ger- 
man commanders  to  mass  troops  just  in  front  of  Perthes.  The 
concentration  continued  until  there  were  220,000  German  sol- 
diers packed  there  in  close  formation.  The  French  attacked,  and 
quickly  a  rain  of  more  than  a  hundred  thousand  shells  fell  upon 
the  Germans. 

The  Germans  sought  to  reply  by  bringing  up  twenty-two  bat- 
teries of  heavy  guns  and  sixty-four  field  batteries ;  but  the  French 
gunners  kept  command  of  the  field.  In  the  twenty  days*  battle — 
from  February  16  to  March  7,  1915 — ^the  French  won  scarcely  a 
mile  of  ground ;  but  they  found  and  buried  10,000  German  dead. 
The  French  staff  estimated  that  60,000  German  soldiers  had  been 
put  out  of  action.  The  German  staff  admitted  they  had  lost  more 
men  in  this  action  than  in  the  campaign  in  East  Prussia  against 
the  Russians,  where  fourteen  German  army  corps  were  engaged. 
The  French  lost  less  than  10,000  men. 

In  the  last  week  of  February,  1915,  it  had  been  learned  by 
General  Joffre  that  General  von  Falkenhayn  of  the  German  forces 
had  withdrawn  from  Neuve  Chapelle,  and  the  section  north  of 
La  Bassee  six  batteries  of  field  artillery,  six  battalions  of  the 
Prussian  Guard,  and  two  heavy  batteries  of  the  Prussian  Guard. 
These  had  been  withdrawn  for  the  purpose  of  checking  the  sup- 
posed French  advance  at  Perthes,  as  already  narrated.  Hence 
it  was  known  that  the  English,  in  command  of  Sir  Douglas  Haig, 
at  Neuve  Chapelle,  were  opposed  by  a  thin  line  of  German  troops 
who  were  making  a  demonstration  of  force  for  the  purpose  of 
concealing  the  weakness  of  their  line. 

The  British  officers  in  the  region  of  Neuve  Chapelle  received 
complete  instructions  on  March  8,  1915,  in  regard  to  an  offensive 
which  they  were  to  start  on  the  10th.  These  instructions  were 
supplemental  to  a  communication  which  had  been  sent  on  Febru- 
ary 19  by  the  British  commander  in  chief  to  Sir  Douglas  Haig,  the 
commander  of  the  First  Army.    Neuve  Chapelle  was  to  be  the 





JBATn^    UNC    ONJAN.  I.  19IS 


82  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

immediate  objective  of  the  prospective  engagement.  This  place  is 
about  four  miles  north  of  La  Bassee  at  the  junction  of  main  roads, 
one  leading  southward  to  La  Bassee,  and  another  from  Bethune 
on  the  west  to  Armentieres  on  the  northeast.  It  is  about  eleven 
miles  west  of  Lille.  These  roads  formed  an  irregular  diamond- 
shaped  figure  with  the  village  at  the  apex  of  the  eastern  sides, 
along  which  the  German  troops  were  stationed.  The  British  held 
the  western  sides  of  this  figure. 

The  land  in  this  part  of  France  is  marshy  and  crossed  by 
dykes ;  but,  to  the  eastward,  the  ground  rises  slowly  to  a  ridge,  on 
the  western  border  of  which  are  two  spurs.  Aubers  is  at  the 
apex  of  one ;  and  lilies  at  the  apex  of  the  other.  Both  of  these 
villages  were  held  by  the  Germans.  The  ridge  extends  north- 
east, beyond  the  junction  of  the  spurs,  from  Fournes  to  within 
two  miles  southwest  of  Lille.  Along  the  ridge  is  the  road  to 
Lille,  Roubaix,  and  Tourcoing,  all  of  which  are  among  the  chief 
manufacturing  towns  of  France.  The  occupation  of  the  ridge 
was  a  necessary  step  to  the  taking  of  Lille ;  and  Neuve  Chapelle 
was  at  the  gateway  to  the  ridge.  If  the  Allies  could  take  Lille 
they  would  then  be  in  a  position  to  move  against  their  enemy  be- 
tween that  point  and  the  sea. 

The  River  Des  Layes  runs  behind  Neuve  Chapelle  to  the  south- 
east ;  and,  behind  the  river,  a  half  mile  from  the  straggling  vil- 
lage, is  a  wood  known  as  the  Bois  du  Biez.  Almost  at  right 
angles  to  the  river,  on  the  west,  the  main  road  from  Estaires  to 
La  Bassee  skirts  Neuve  Chapelle.  There  is  a  triangle  of  roads 
north  of  the  village  where  there  were  a  few  large  houses  with 
walls,  gardens,  and  orchards.  At  this  point  the  Germans  had 
fortified  themselves  to  flank  the  approaches  to  the  village  from 
that  section.  These  trenches  were  only  about  a  hundred  yards 
from  those  of  the  British.  The  Germans  had  machine  guns  at  & 
bridge  over  the  river ;  and  they  had  another  post  established  a 
little  farther  up  at  the  Pietre  mill.  Farther  down  the  stream, 
where  the  road  into  the  village  joins  the  main  road  to  La  Bassee, 
the  Germans  had  fortified  a  group  of  ruined  buildings  which  was 
known  as  Port  Arthur.  From  there  was  a  great  network  of 
trenches  which  extended  northwestward  to  the  Pietre  mill.  There 


were  also  German  troops  in  the  Bois  du  Biez,  and  in  the  ruined 
houses  along  the  border  of  the  wood. 

The  German  trenches  were  in  excellent  positions,  but  were  oc- 
cupied by  only  a  comparatively  few  soldiers ;  it  was  the  German 
plan  to  keep  large  bodies  of  troops  in  reserve,  so  that  they  might 
be  sent  to  any  sector  where  the  need  seemed  most  likely.  They 
have  asserted  they  had  only  four  battalions  in  the  front  line  here  ; 
but  that  statement  is  denied  by  the  British. 

The  British  plan  of  attack  embraced  a  heavy  bombardment  to 
demoralize  their  enemy  and  prevent  reenforcement.  This  was  to 
be  followed  by  an  infantry  attack.  It  was  expected  that  the  Ger- 
mans would  be  surprised  to  such  an  extent  it  would  be  impossible 
for  them  to  make  much  resistance.  Units  of  the  First  Army  were 
to  make  the  main  attack,  supported  by  the  Second  Army.  The 
support  included  a  division  of  cavalry.  Among  the  large  force  of 
heavy  artillery  for  the  opening  bombardment  were  a  number  of 
French  guns  manned  by  French  artillerymen. 



THREE  hundred  and  fifty  guns  at  short  range  began  a  most 
terrific  bombardment  March  10,  1915,  at  7.30  a.  m.  It  is  said 
that  the  discharges  of  the  artillery  was  so  frequent  that  it  seemed 
as  if  some  gigantic  machine  gun  was  in  action.  Shortly  after  this 
bombardment  started,  the  German  trenches  were  covered  by  a 
great  cloud  of  smoke  and  dust  and  a  pall  of  green  lyddite  fumes. 
The  first  line  of  German  trenches,  against  which  the  fire  was  di- 
rected, became  great  shapeless  furrows  and  craters  filled  with 
the  dead  and^  dying. 

This  was  the  condition  all  along  the  line  except  on  the  extreme 
northern  end  where  the  artillery  fire  was  less  effective,  owing,  it 
was  said,  to  a  lack  of  proper  preparation  by  the  British  staff. 
This  terrific  artillery  fire  was  continued  for  thirty-five  minutes ; 

84  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

and  then  the  range  was  changed  from  the  first  line  of  German 
trenches  to  the  village  of  Neuve  Chapelle  itself.  Thereupon  the 
British  infantry  advanced  and  made  prisoners  of  the  few  Ger- 
mans left  alive  in  the  first  line.  The  men  found  unwounded  were 
so  dazed  by  the  onslaught  which  the  guns  had  made  upon  their 
position  that  they  offered  no  resistance.  The  bombardment  had 
swept  away  the  wire  entanglements ;  and  the  British  had  only  the 
greasy  mud  with  which  to  contend,  when  they  made  their  dash 

Where  the  wire  entanglements  had  been  swept  away,  the 
Second  Lincolnshire  and  the  Berkshire  regiments  were  the  first 
to  reach  the  German  trenches.  These  regiments  then  turned  to 
the  right  and  left,  and  thus  permitted  the  Royal  Irish  Rifles  and 
the  Rifle  Brigade  to  go  on  toward  the  village. 

In  order  to  understand  the  infantry  attack  in  detail  it  is  neces- 
sary to  know  the  manner  in  which  the  British  troops  were  dis- 
tributed before  they  made  their  dash  at  the  ruined  trenches  of 
the  Germans.  Two  brigades  of  the  Eighth  Division,  the  Twenty- 
fifth  to  the  right  and  the  Twenty-third  to  the  left,  were  due  west 
of  Neuve  Chapelle.  On  a  front  a  mile  and  a  half  long  to  the 
south  of  them  was  the  Meerut  Division,  supported  by  the  Lahore 
Division.  The  Garhwal  Brigade  was  on  the  left  and  the  Dehra 
Dun  Brigade  was  on  its  right.  In  the  first  attack  the  Twenty- 
third  dashed  to  the  northeast  comer  of  the  village,  the  Twenty- 
fifth  against  the  village  itself ;  and  the  Garhwal  Brigade  charged 
on  the  southwest  corner. 

The  trenches  opposite  the  Twenty-fifth  were  taken  with  prac- 
tically no  fighting.  The  Germans  who  had  manned  them  were 
either  killed  or  too  dazed  to  offer  resistance.  As  has  already 
been  told,  the  Second  Royal  Berkshires  and  the  Second  Lincolns 
took  the  first  line  of  trenches  in  front  of  them,  and  opened  the 
middle  of  their  line  to  permit  the  Second  Rifle  Brigade  and  the 
First  Irish  Rifles  to  dash  on  to  the  village.  The  British  artillery 
range  was  lengthened,  thereby  preventing  the  German  supports 
from  interference  with  the  well-defined  plan  of  the  British. 
Into  the  wrecked  streets  of  Neuve  Chapelle  swung  two  battal- 
ions of  the  Twenty-fifth  Brigade.    The  few  of  their  enemy  who 


BATTLE    OF   NEUVE    CHAPELLE    BEGINS         85 

offered  resistance  were  soon  overpowered  —  being  captured  or 

These  men  of  the  Twenty-fifth  Brigade  found  terrible  scenes  of 
destruction.  The  village  had  been  knocked  literally  into  a  rubbish 
heap.  Even  the  dead  in  the  village  churchyard  had  been  plowed 
from  their  graves  by  the  terrific  bombardment. 

The  Garhwal  Brigade  captured  the  first  line  of  trenches  on  the 
right,  and  the  Third  Gurkhas,  on  the  southern  outskirts  of  the 
village,  met  the  Rifle  Brigade.  Then  it  dashed  on  to  the  Bois  du 
Biez,  passing  another  rubbish  heap  which  once  had  been  the 
hamlet  known  as  Port  Arthur. 

The  attack  on  the  left,  however,  resulted  less  successfully  for 
the  British  forces.  As  indicated  above,  the  preparation  for  the 
bombardment  at  this  part  of  the  line  had  been  inadequate  for  the 
purpose  which  the  general  in  command  had  sought  to  achieve. 
Thus  on  the  northeast  corner  of  Neuve  Chapelle  the  German 
trenches  and  the  wire  entanglements  in  front  of  them  had  been 
damaged  but  little.  The  British  forces  on  this  part  of  the  line 
included  the  Second  Devons,  the  Second  West  Yorks,  the  Second 
Scottish  Rifles,  and  the  Second  Middlesex,  known  as  the  Twenty- 
third  Brigade.  The  Scottish  Rifles  charged  against  intact  wire 
entanglements  which  halted  them  in  the  range  of  a  murderous 
rifle  and  machine-gun  fire.  With  daring  bravery  the  Scots  sought 
to  tear  down  the  wire  with  their  hands;  but  were  forced  to  fall 
back  and  lie  in  the  fire-swept  zone  until  one  company  forced  its 
way  through  an  opening  and  destroyed  the  barrier.  The  regi- 
ment, as  a  result  of  this  mishap  to  the  plans  of  the  commanding 
general,  lost  its  commander.  Colonel  Bliss,  and  fourteen  other 

The  Middlesex,  on  the  right,  met  with  the  same  obstruction 
nd  lost  many  of  its  men  and  officers  while  waiting  for  the  British 
artillery  to  smash  a  way  through  for  them.  This  the  artillery 
did  when  word  had  been  carried  back  telling  of  the  plight  of  the 

The  Twenty-fifth  Brigade,  to  the  south,  had  the  good  fortune 
to  turn  the  flank  of  the  Germans  north  of  Neuve  Chapelle.  Then 
the  entire  Twenty-third  Brigade  forced  its  way  to  the  orchard 

86  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

northeast  of  the  village,  where  it  met  the  Twenty-fourth  Brigade, 
which  included  the  First  Worcesters,  Second  East  Lancashires, 
First  Sherwood  Foresters,  and  the  Second  Northamptons.  The 
Twenty-fourth  Brigade  had  fought  its  way  through  from  the 
Neuve  Chapelle-Armentieres  road.  As  soon  as  this  had  been 
accomplished  by  the  British,  their  artillery  proceeded  to  send 
such  a  rain  of  shrapnel  fire  between  the  village  and  the  Germans 
that  a  counterattack  was  quite  impossible.  This  gave  the  victors 
an  opportunity  to  intrench  themselves  practically  at  their  leisure. 
The  plans  of  the  British  commander  had  embraced  a  forward 
movement  when  the  troops  had  reached  this  point,  but  they  had 
not  included  a  means  of  keeping  communication  with  the  various 
units  intact.  The  telegraph  and  telephone  wires  had  been  cut  by 
the  shot  and  shell  of  both  sides ;  and  there  was  no  opportunity  to 
repair  them  until  it  was  too  late  to  take  advantage  of  the  de- 
moralization of  the  Germans.  Moreover,  the  delay  of  the  Twenty- 
third  Brigade  had  so  disarranged  the  plans  of  the  British  that  it 
is  doubtful  if  they  would  not  have  failed  in  part  even  if  the  means 
of  communication  had  not  been  destroyed.  Nevertheless,  Sir 
John  French  wrote :  "I  am  of  the  opinion  that  this  delay  would 
not  have  occurred  had  the  clearly  expressed  orders  of  the  general 
officer  commanding  the  First  Army  been  more  carefully  ob- 

There  was  also  an  additional  delay  in  bringing  up  the  reserves 
of  the  Fourth  Corps.  Thus  it  was  not  until  3.30  p.  m.  that  three 
brigades  of  the  Seventh  Division,  the  Twentieth,  Twenty-first, 
and  Twenty-second  Brigades  were  in  their  places  on  the  left  of 
the  Twenty-fourth  Brigade.  Then  the  left  moved  southward 
toward  Aubers.  At  the  same  time  the  Indian  Corps,  composed  of 
the  Garhwal  Brigade  and  the  Dehra  Dun  Brigade,  forced  its 
way  through  the  Bois  du  Biez  toward  the  ridge.  Strong  opposi- 
tion was  met  with  to  such  an  extent,  however,  that  the  Thirty- 
ninth  Garhwals  and  the  Second  Leicesters  suffered  severe  losses 
on  reaching  a  German  position  which  had  practically  escaped  the 
heavy  artillery  fire.  A  German  outpost  at  the  bridge  held  the 
Dehra  Dun  Brigade,  which  was  supported  by  the  Jullundur 
Brigade  of  the  Lahore  Division,  in  its  attack  farther  to  the  south 

BATTLE    OF    NEUVE    CHAPELLE    BEGINS         87 

on  the  line  of  the  River  Des  Layes.  The  First  Brigade  of  the 
First  Corps  was  rushed  forward  by  Sir  Douglas  Haig ;  but  it  was 
dark  before  these  troops  arrived.  Another  fortified  bridge, 
farther  to  the  left,  checked  the  Twenty-fifth  Brigade;  and  ma- 
chine-gun fire  stopped  the  Twenty-fourth  Brigade,  this  fire  being 
from  the  German  troops  at  the  crossroads  northwest  of  Pietre 
village.  The  Seventh  Division  was  held  by  the  line  of  the  Des 
Layes,  and  the  defense  of  the  Pietre  mill. 

By  evening  the  British  had  gone  forward  as  far  as  their  artil'- 
lery  fire  had  been  effective ;  and  it  was  found  necessary  for  them 
to  stop  to  strengthen  the  new  line  which  they  had  estab- 
lished. They  had  won  Neuve  Chapelle.  They  had  advanced 
a  mile.  They  had  straightened  their  line,  but  they  could  go 
no  farther. 

On  the  following  day,  March  11, 1915,  the  British  artillery  was 
directed  against  the  Bois  du  Biez  and  the  trenches  in  the  neigh- 
borhood of  Pietre.  The  Germans,  however,  had  recovered  from 
the  surprise  of  the  great  bombardment,  and  they  made  several 
counterattacks.  Little  progress  was  made  on  that  day  by  either 
side.  On  that  night,  March  11,  the  Bavarian  and  Saxon  reserves 
arrived  from  Tourcoing,  and  on  the  morning  of  March  12  the 
counterattack  extended  along  the  British  front.  Because  of  the 
heavy  mist,  and  the  lack  of  proper  communications,  it  was  im- 
possible for  the  British  artillery  to  do  much  damage.  The  de- 
fense of  the  bridges  across  the  Des  Layes  kept  the  British  forces 
from  the  ridges  and  the  capture  of  Aubers.  The  best  that  the 
British  seemed  to  be  able  to  do  was  to  prevent  the  German 
counterattack  from  being  successful. 

An  attempt  to  use  the  British  cavalry  was  unsuccessful  on 
March  12.  The  Second  Cavalry  Division,  in  command  of  Gen- 
eral Hubert  Gough,  with  a  brigade  of  the  North  Midland  Divi- 
sion, was  ordered  to  support  the  infantry  offensive,  it  being 
believed  that  the  cavalry  might  penetrate  the  German  lines. 
When  the  Fifth  Cavalry  Brigade,  under  command  of  Sir  Philip 
Chetwode,  arrived  in  the  Rue  Bacquerot  at  4  p.  m..  Sir  Henry 
Rawlinson  reported  the  German  positions  intact,  and  the 
cavalry  retired  to  Estaires. 



I  2 




BATTLE    OF   NEUVE    CHAPELLE    BEGINS         89 

The  attack  of  the  Seventh  Division  against  the  Pietre  Fort 
continued  all  the  day  of  March  12,  as  did  the  attempt  to  take 
the  Des  Layes  bridges  from  the  Germans,  who  were  valiantly 
defending  their  second  line  of  trenches  in  the  Bois  du  Biez.  Prob- 
ably the  fiercest  fighting  of  that  day  fell  to  the  lot  of  the  Twen- 
tieth Brigade,  composed  of  the  First  Grenadiers,  the  Second  Scots 
Guards,  the  Second  Border  Regiment,  and  the  Second  Gordons, 
with  the  Sixth  Gordons,  a  Territorial  battalion.  This  brigade 
fought  valiantly  around  Pietre  Mill.  Position  after  position  was 
taken  by  them,  but  their  efforts  could  not  remain  effective  with- 
out the  aid  of  artillery,  which  was  lacking.  The  Second  Rifle 
Brigade  carried  a  section  of  the  German  trenches  farther  south 
that  afternoon,  but  an  enfilading  fire  drove  the  British  back  to 
their  former  position. 

It  was  evident  by  the  night  of  March  12  that  the  British  could 
not  gain  command  of  the  ridge  and  that  the  Germans  could  not 
retake  Neuve  Chapelle.  Hence  Sir  John  French  ordered  Sir 
Douglas  Haig  to  hold  and  consolidate  the  ground  which  had  been 
taken  by  the  Fourth  and  Indian  Corps,  and  suspend  further 
offensive  operations  for  the  present.  In  his  report  General 
French  set  forth  that  the  three  days'  fighting  had  cost  the  Brit- 
ish 190  officers  and  2,337  other  ranks  killed;  359  officers  and 
8,174  other  ranks  wounded,  and  23  officers  and  1,728  other  ranks 
missing.    He  claimed  German  losses  of  over  12,000. 

The  British  soldiers  who  had  been  engaged  in  the  fighting 
about  Neuve  Chapelle  spent  all  of  March  13,  1915,  in  digging 
trenches  in  the  wet  meadows  that  border  the  Des  Layes.  On  the 
following  day  the  two  corps  that  had  fought  so  valiantly  were 
sent  back  to  the  reserve. 

The  German  commanders,  in  the  meantime,  had  been  prepar- 
ing for  a  vigorous  counterattack.  They  planned  to  make  their 
greatest  effort  fifteen  miles  north  of  Neuve  Chapelle,  at  the  vil- 
lage of  St.  Eloi,  and  trained  a  large  section  of  their  artillery 
against  a  part  of  the  British  front,  which  was  held  by  the 
Twenty-seventh  Division.  The  preparation  of  the  Germans  was 
well  concealed  on  March  14  by  the  heavy  mist  that  covered  the 
low  country.    The  bombardment  started  at  5  p.  m.,  the  begin- 

90  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

ning  of  which  was  immediately  followed  by  the  explosion  of  two 
mines  which  were  under  a  hillock  that  was  a  part  of  the  British 
front  at  the  southeast  of  St.  Eloi.  The  artillery  attack  was  fol- 
lowed by  such  an  avalanche  of  German  infantry  that  the  British 
were  driven  from  their  trenches.  This  German  success  was  fol- 
lowed up  by  the  enfilading  of  the  British  lines  to  the  right  and 
left,  with  the  result  that  that  entire  section  of  the  British  front 
was  forced  back. 

That  night  a  counterattack  was  prepared.  It  was  made  at 
2  a.  m.,  on  March  15,  by  the  Eighty-second  Brigade,  which  had 
the  Eightieth  Brigade  as  its  support.  The  Eighty-second  Brigade 
drove  the  Germans  from  the  village  and  the  trenches  on  the  east. 
The  Eightieth  Brigade  finished  the  task  of  regaining  all  of  the 
ground  that  had  been  lost  except  the  crater  caused  by  the  explo- 
sion of  the  mines.  Among  the  regiments  that  made  a  most  envi- 
able record  for  themselves  in  this  action  were  Princess  Patricia's 
Canadian  Light  Infantry,  the  Fourth  Rifle  Brigade,  the  First 
Leinsters,  the  Second  Cornwalls,  and  the  Second  Royal  Irish 
Fusiliers.  The  "Princess  Pat's,"  as  the  Canadian  troops  were 
known  in  the  home  land,  were  the  first  colonial  soldiers  to  take 
part  in  a  battle  of  such  magnitude  in  this  war.  Their  valor  and 
their  ability  as  fighting  men  were  causes  of  great  pride  to  the 

Before  leaving  the  Neuve  Chapelle  engagement  and  what  im- 
mediately followed  it,  it  is  well  to  give  a  brief  survey  of  the 
actions  along  the  line  that  supported  it.  To  prevent  the  Ger- 
mans from  taking  troops  from  various  points  and  massing  them 
against  the  main  British  attack;  the  British  soldiers  all  along 
that  part  of  the  front  found  plenty  of  work  to  do  in  their  imme- 
diate vicinity.  Thus,  on  March  10, 1915,  the  First  Corps  attacked 
the  Germans  from  Givenchy,  but  there  had  been  but  little  artil- 
lery fire  on  the  part  of  the  British  there,  and  the  wire  entangle- 
ments stopped  them  from  more  than  keeping  the  German  troops 
in  the  position  which  they  had  held.  The  Second  Corps,  on 
March  12,  was  to  have  advanced  at  10  a.  m.  southwest  of  Wyt- 
schaete.  The  fog  that  prevailed  on  that  day,  however,  prevented 
a  movement  until  4  p.  m.    Then  the  First  Wiltshires  and  the 

BATTLE    OF   NEUVE    CHAPELLE    BEGINS         91 

Third  Worcesters  of  the  Seventh  Brigade  began  a  movement 
which  had  to  be  abandoned  when  the  weather  thickened  and 
night  fell. 

The  attack  on  L'Epinette,  a  hamlet  southeast  of  Armentieres, 
was  much  more  successful  on  the  same  day.  The  Seventeenth 
Brigade  of  the  Fourth  Division  of  the  Third  Corps  advanced  at 
noon,  with  the  Eighteenth  Brigade  ^s  its  support.  It  advanced 
300  yards  on  a  front  a  half  mile  in  length,  carrying  the  village, 
which  it  retained  in  spite  of  all  the  counterattacks. 

The  work  of  the  artillery  was  not  confined  to  the  main  attack, 
for  it  was  very  effective  in  shelling  the  Quesnoy  railway  station 
east  of  Armentieres,  where  German  reenforcements  were  board- 
ing a  train  for  the  front.  The  British  artillery  fire  was  effec- 
tive as  far  as  Aubers,  where  it  demolished  a  tall  church  spire. 

The  work  of  the  aviators,  from  March  10  to  12  inclusive,  de- 
serves special  mention.  Owing  to  the  adverse  weather  condi- 
tions, it  was  necessary  for  them  to  fly  as  low  as  from  100  to 
150  feet  above  the  object  of  their  attack  in  order  to  be  sure  of 
their  aim.  Nevertheless  they  destroyed  one  of  the  piers  of  the 
bridge  over  the  Lys  at  Menin.  This  bridge  carried  the  railroad 
over  the  river.  They  also  wrecked  the  railway  stations  at  Douai, 
Don,  and  Courtrai.  The  daring  of  the  British  aviators  even  took 
them  over  Lille,  where  they  dropped  bombs  on  one  of  the  German 

To  summarize  the  fighting  about  Neuve  Chapelle,  it  may  be 
said  that  the  British  had  advanced  something  more  than  a  mile 
on  a  three-mile  front,  replacing  the  sag  which  had  existed  in 
their  line  by  a  sag  in  that  of  the  Germans.  The  British  had 
not  won  the  ridges  which  were  the  key  to  Lille,  but  they  had 
advanced  their  trenches  close  to  those  ridges.  The  entire  moral 
effect  was  a  gain  for  the  British ;  but  even  that  and  the  gain  in 
advancing  the  front  had  been  obtained  at  a  too  great  sacrifice 
of  the  life  of  their  men.  The  words  of  the  Germans  in  char- 
acterizing the  tremendous  bombardment  of  the  British  were: 
"That  is  not  war ;  it  is  murder." 

The  belief  in  the  supposed  superiority  of  the  German  artil- 
lery was  so  shaken  in  the  minds  of  the  General  Staff  as  a  result 

92  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

of  the  fighting  on  the  Neuve  Chapelle  front  that  they  shortly 
after  issued  an  order  to  try  a  series  of  experiments  on  animals 
with  asphyxiating  gases. 



THERE  was  very  little  activity  on  the  western  front  after  the 
fighting  at  Neuve  Chapelle  and  St.  Eloi  until  the  beginning  of 
a  renewal  of  the  campaign  between  La  Bassee  and  the  sea.  The 
importance  of  success  in  this  region  was  appreciated  by  both 
sides.  The  Germans  north  of  the  Lys  planned  to  cross  the 
Comines-Ypres,  Yperlee,  and  Yser  Canals,  capture  Ypres,  take 
all  of  the  ridge  of  the  Mont-des-Cats,  and  then  continue  west 
and  take  Dunkirk,  Calais,  and  Boulogne.  The  Allies  in  their  plan 
included  an  advance  south  of  the  Lys  on  two  sides  of  Lille,  the 
taking  of  the  Aubers  Ridge,  and  the  turning  from  the  north 
the  German  salient  at  La  Bassee.  This  much  of  the  Allies'  plan 
was  to  be  executed  by  the  British.  The  work  of  the  French  was 
to  drive  the  Germans  from  the  vicinity  of  Lens  and  threaten 
La  Bassee  from  the  south  and  west.  The  reasons  for  making 
these  plans  are  obvious.  The  German  salient  was  a  source  of 
much  danger  to  the  joining  of  the  British  and  French  armies, 
and  the  possibility  of  the  Germans  forcing  their  way  through 
to  Boulogne  meant  a  possibility  of  a  cutting  off  of  the  entire 
British  army  and  the  French  and  Belgian  forces  between  Ypres 
and  the  sea  near  Nieuport.  However,  if  La  Bassee  was  isolated 
and  the  Aubers  Ridge  taken  by  the  British,  the  chances  that  the 
Germans  could  retain  Lille  were  materially  lessened ;  and  if  the 
British  got  Lille  they  might  start  to  drive  their  enemy  from 

During  the  lull  in  the  fighting  on  land,  to  which  reference  has 
been  made,  there  was  much  activity  in  the  air.    Reconnaissances 


and  raids  were  of  almost  daily  occurrence.  A  Zeppelin  dropped 
twenty  bombs  on  Calais,  slaying  seven  workmen  at  the  railroad 
station  on  March  18,  1915.  Three  days  later  another,  or  pos- 
sibly the  same  Zeppelin,  flew  over  the  town,  but  this  time  it  was 
driven  away  before  it  could  do  any  harm.  "Taubes"  bombarded 
the  railroad  junction  of  St.  Omer  and  made  a  similar  attack  on 
Estaires  on  March  23.  Four  days  after  another  attack  was  made 
on  Estaires,  and  on  the  same  day,  March  27,  the  German  airmen 
did  some  damage  to  Sailly,  Calais,  and  Dunkirk.  The  next  day 
a  'Taube"  made  an  attack  on  Calais,  Estaires,  and  Hazebrouck. 
A  Zeppelin  closed  the  month's  warfare  in  the  air  for  the  Germans 
by  making  a  dash  over  Bailleul. 

Aviators  of  the  Allies,  too,  were  busy.  One  of  their  aerial 
squadrons  proceeded  along  the  coast  on  March  16  and  attacked 
the  military  posts  at  Ostend  and  Knocke.  These  aviators  had 
as  one  of  their  main  objective  points  the  German  coast  batteries 
at  the  latter  place.  But  the  squadron  was  seen  from  a  German 
observation  balloon  at  Zeebrugge,  and  a  flock  of  "Taubes*'  made 
a  dash  for  their  enemy's  craft.  The  Germans  were  not  as  skill- 
ful airmen,  however,  and  they  found  it  necessary  to  retire.  Five 
British  aviators  made  an  attack  on  the  German  submarine  base 
at  Hoboken,  southwest  of  Antwerp,  and  destroyed  a  submarine 
and  wrecked  two  others.  This  raid  was  made  without  injury 
to  the  aviators,  the  only  accident  being  the  necessity  of  one  of 
the  aircraft  to  descend,  which  it  did,  only  to  find  it  hadjanded 
on  Dutch  territory  and  must  be  interned.  The  excellence  of  the 
Allies'  flying  was  not  confined  to  the  English.  Belgian  and 
French  airmen,  as  well  as  British,  flew  almost  constantly  over 
Ostend,  Zeebrugge,  Roulers,  Aubers,  and  such  other  places  as 
German  soldiers  and  their  supplies  were  in  evidence.  The  Bel- 
gian airmen  dropped  bombs  on  the  aviation  field  at  Ghistelles  on 
March  27,  and  on  the  following  day  a  Zeppelin  hangar  was  de- 
stroyed at  Berchem-Sainte-Agathe,  near  Brussels.  On  March  30, 
1915,  ten  British  and  some  French  aviators  flew  along  the  coast 
from  Nieuport  to  Zeebrugge  and  dropped  bombs  on  magazines 
and  submarine  bases.  The  last  day  of  the  month  saw  the  de- 
struction of  the  German  captive  balloon  at  Zeebrugge  and  the 

94  THE    STORY    OP   THE    GREAT   WAR 

death  of  its  two  observers.  The  Belgian  aviators  on  the  same 
day  threw  bombs  on  the  aviation  field  at  Handzaeme  and  the 
railroad  junction  at  Cortemarck,  and,  south  of  Dixmude,  the 
famous  birdman,  Garros,  fought  a  successful  duel  in  the  air  with 
a  German  aviator. 

An  aviator  of  the  Allies  flew  over  the  aerodrome  at  Lille  on 
April  1,  1915,  and  dropped  a  football.  The  Germans  hastened  to 
cover.  When  the  ball  bounced  prodigiously  as  a  result  of  being 
dropped  from  such  a  height,  the  Teutons  thought  it  was  some 
new  kind  of  death  dealer,  and  remained  in  their  places  of 
safety.  In  fact,  they  remained  there  quite  a  few  minutes  after 
the  football  had  ceased  to  bounce.  When  they  finally  emerged 
most  cautiously  and  approached  the  object  of  their  terror, 
they  read  this  inscription  on  it:  "April  Fool  —  Gott  strafe 

Though  the  antiaircraft  guns,  or  "Archibalds,"  as  the  soldiers 
called  them,  were  not  especially  effective  except  in  keeping  the 
flyers  at  such  a  height  that  it  was  not  easy  for  them  to  make 
effective  observations,  a  "Taube"  was  brought  down  at  Pervyse, 
and  near  Ypres  another  was  damaged  on  April  8.  But  on  April 
12  a  German  flyer  inflicted  some  loss  on  the  Allies*  lines  and 
escaped  without  being  even  hit.  On  the  following  day,  presuma- 
bly emboldened  by  that  success,  German  aeroplanes  threw  flares 
and  smoke  balls  over  the  British  trenches  east  of  Ypres,  with 
the  result  that  the  soldiers  of  King  George  were  subjected  to  a 
severe  bombardment.  All  things  considered,  however,  the  Allies 
had  ground  for  their  belief  that  they  more  than  held  their  own 
in  the  air. 

Afloat  the  Allies  continued  to  maintain  the  supremacy  which 
had  been  theirs.  The  French  and  British  battleships  held  the 
left  of  the  Allies'  line.  Their  great  guns  proved  their  effective- 
ness on  the  Germans  who  were  advancing  from  Ostend  on  Nieu- 
port.  They  repeatedly  bombarded  the  position  of  the  kaiser's 
men  at  Westende,  east  of  Nieuport.  The  Germans  had  trained 
one  of  their  mammoth  pieces  of  artillery  against  that  town  pre- 
sumably because  it  held  the  sluices  and  locks  which  regulated 
the  overflowing  of  the  Yser  territory.    If  the  means  of  flooding 


the  land  could  not  be  seized,  the  next  best  thing  to  do  was  to 
wreck  them. 

The  Belgians,  in  the  meantime,  assumed  the  offensive,  their 
left  being  protected  by  the  Allied  fleet  and  the  French  forces  in 
the  neighborhood  of  Nieuport.  These  troops  captured  one  of  the 
smaller  forts  east  of  Lombartzyde  on  March  11, 1915.  There  was 
also  fighting  at  Schoorbakke,  north  of  the  Yser  loop,  where  the 
German  trenches  were  shelled  by  French  artillery.  This  was 
on  the  eastern  border  of  the  inundated  section.  After  destroy- 
ing the  German  front  in  the  graveyard  at  Dixmude,  the  French 
artillerists  battered  a  German  convoy  on  its  way  between  Dix- 
mude and  Essen  on  March  17,  1915.  By  March  23  the  east  bank 
of  the  Yser  held  a  Belgian  division.  In  fact,  from  Dixmude  to 
the  sea  the  Allied  troops  were  advancing. 

The  Germans,  however,  advanced  south  of  Dixmude.  On 
April  1,  1915,  they  shelled  the  farms  and  villages  west  of  the 
Yser  and  the  Yperlee  Canals,  and  took  the  Driegrachten  farm. 
Thereupon  the  Germans  crossed  the  canal  with  three  machine 
guns.  Their  plan  was  to  proceed  along  the  border  of  the  inun- 
dated district  to  Furnes.  But  the  French  balked  the  plan  by 
shelling  the  farm,  and  the  Belgians  finished  the  work  by  driving 
the  Germans  back  to  Mercken  on  April  6,  1915. 

In  the  meantime,  from  March  15  to  April  17,  1915,  the  bom- 
bardment of  Ypres  was  continued,  destroying  most  of  the  re- 
maining buildings  there.  Engagements  of  importance  had  not 
as  yet  started  on  the  British  front.  The  British  had  a  supply 
of  shrapnel,  and  the  British  and  French  cannon,  as  well  as  the 
rifle-  and  machine-gun  fire,  held  the  Germans  in  check  until  they 
had  time  to  perfect  their  plans  for  a  vigorous  offensive.  Never- 
theless the  British  needed  a  much  larger  supply  of  ammunition 
before  they  could  start  on  a  determined  campaign,  which  was  so 
much  desired  by  the  troops.  One  of  the  German  headquarters, 
however,  was  shelled  effectively  by  the  British  on  April  1,  1915, 
and  on  the  following  day  mortars  in  the  trenches  did  consider- 
able damage  in  the  Wood  of  Ploegsteert.  A  mine  blew  up  a 
hundred  yards  of  the  trenches  that  were  opposite  Quinchy,  a 

village  to  the  south  of  Givenchy,  on  April  3,  1915.    To  offset  this 

7— War  St.  3 

96  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  Germans  bombarded  the  British  line  at  that  point.  They  also 
shelled  Fleurbaix,  which  is  three  miles  southwest  of  Armentieres, 
on  April  5,  1915.  The  British  on  the  same  day  wrecked  a  new 
trench  mortar  south  of  there.  On  April  6,  1915,  the  German 
artillery  began  to  be  more  active  both  north  and  south  of  the 
Lys,  and  the  British  retaliated  by  shelling  the  railway  triangle 
that  was  near  Quinchy.  German  soldiers  were  slain  and  others 
wounded  when  a  mine  was  exploded  at  Le  Touquet,  on 
the  north  bank  of  the  Lys.  One  of  the  kaiser's  ammunition 
depots  was  blown  up  near  Quinchy  on  April  9,  1915,  and  his 
men  were  driven  from  their  trenches  in  front  of  Givenchy  by 
mortar  fire. 

The  comparative  quiet  along  the  front  was  broken  by  the  fight 
for  the  possession  of  Hill  60,  which  became  famous  because  of 
the  rival  claims  as  to  victory.  The  mound,  for  it  was  little  more, 
getting  its  name  on  account  of  its  height — sixty  meters — was  of 
importance  only  because  it  screened  the  German  artillery  which 
was  shelling  Ypres  from  the  bridge  to  the  west  of  Zandvoord. 
British  trenches  had  been  driven  close  to  this  hill  by  the  Bed- 
fords,  whose  sappers  tunneled  under  the  mound  and  there  pre- 
pared three  mines.  At  the  same  time  the  Germans  were  tunnel- 
ing to  plant  mines  under  the  Bedfords'  trench.  In  this  under- 
ground race  the  Bedfords  won  on  the  night  of  April  17,  1915, 
when  they  blew  three  big  craters  in  the  hill,  killing  almost  to 
a  man  all  of  the  150  Germans  who  were  on  the  little  rise  of 
ground.  The  Bedfords  then  dashed  forward  to  the  three  craters 
they  had  opened  up  and  took  a  quarter  of  a  mile  of  the  German 

The  Germans  were  apparently  unprepared  for  the  attack  which 
followed  the  explosion  of  the  British  mines,  with  the  result  that 
the  British  had  to  overcome  little  resistance,  and  had  ample 
opportunity  to  prepare  a  defense  from  the  bombardment  that 
followed.  The  next  morning,  April  18,  1915,  the  German  in- 
fantry in  close  formation  advanced  on  the  hill.  This  infantry 
was  composed  of  Saxons,  who  continued  on  for  a  bayonet  charge 
in  spite  of  the  downpour  of  lead  that  the  British  rained  upon 
them.    But  the  Bedfords  had  been  reenforced  by  the  West  Rents 


and  about  thirty  motor  machine  guns.  The  machine  guns  raked 
the  charging  Saxons  in  front,  and  shrapnel  tore  their  flank. 
Only  their  dead  and  dying  remained  on  the  hill;  but  the  Ger-» 
man  commanders  continued  to  send  their  men  against  the  British 
there,  who  were  subjected  to  a  murderous  cross-fire,  the  hill 
forming  a  salient.  As  a  result  of  their  persistence  the  German 
troops  managed  to  get  a  foothold  on  the  southern  part  of  the  hill 
by  6  p.  m.  In  the  meantime  a  battalion  of  Highlanders  and  the 
Duke  of  Wellington's  regiment  had  been  sent  to  reenforce  the 
Bedfords  and  the  West  Rents.  The  Highlanders  made  a  des- 
perate charge,  using  bayonets  and  hand  grenades  on  the  Ger- 
mans who  had  gained  the  southern  edge  of  the  hill.  The  Ger- 
mans were  driven  back. 

The  Duke  of  Wurttemberg,  the  German  commander,  presum- 
ably believing  his  troops  had  not  only  held  what  they  had  taken, 
but  had  advanced,  announced  that  another  German  victory  had 
been  gained  in  the  capture  of  Hill  60.  Sir  John  French  also 
sent  out  a  message,  but  in  his  report  he  set  forth  that  Hill  60 
was  held  by  the  British.  Because  there  had  been  similar  con- 
flict in  official  reports  all  too  frequently,  it  seemed  as  if  a  tacit 
agreement  was  made  among  the  neUtrals  to  determine  who  was 
telling  the  truth.  This  resulted  in  making  what  was  a  compara- 
tively unimportant  engagement  one  of  the  most  celebrated  battles 
of  the  war.  As  soon  as  Duke  Albrecht  of  Wurttemberg  discov- 
ered his  mistake  he  did  what  he  could  to  make  good  his  state- 
ment by  attempting  to  take  Hill  60  without  regard  to  sacrificing 
his  men.  Sir  John  French  was  just  as  determined  to  hold  the 
hill.  So  he  moved  large  numbers  of  troops  toward  the  shattered 
mound,  the  British  artillery  was  reenforced,  and  the  hastily  con- 
structed sandbag  breastworks  were  improved  with  all  possible 

The  Germans  then  attacked  with  gas  bombs.  Projectiles  filled 
with  gas  were  hurled  upon  the  British  from  three  sides.  The 
East  Surrey  Regiment,  which  defended  the  hill  in  the  latter  part 
of  the  battle  for  it,  suffered  severely.  Faces  and  arms  became 
shiny  and  gray-black.  Membranes  in  the  throats  thickened,  and 
lungs  seemed  to  be  eaten  by  the  chlorine  7>oison.    Yet  the  men 

98  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

fought  on  until  exhausted,  and  then  fell  to  suffer  through  a  death 
struggle  which  continued  from  twenty-four  hours  to  three  days 
of  suffocating  agony. 

The  German  artillery  kept  up  its  almost  incessant  pounding 
of  the  British.  In  short  lulls  of  the  big  gun's  work  the  German 
infantry  hurled  itself  against  the  trenches  on  the  hill,  using 
hand  grenades  and  bombs.  The  fight  continued  until  the  morn- 
ing of  May  5,  1915,  when  the  wind  blew  at  about  four  miles  an 
hour  from  the  German  trenches.  Then  a  greenish-yellow  fog 
of  poisonous  gas  was  released,  and  soon  encompassed  the  hill. 
The  East  Surreys,  who  were  holding  the  hill,  were  driven  back 
by  the  gas,  but  as  soon  as  the  gas  passed  they  charged  the  Ger- 
mans who  had  followed  the  gas  and  had  taken  possession  of  the 
hill.  Notwithstanding  the  machine-gun  fire  which  the  Germans 
poured  upon  them,  many  of  the  trenches  were  retaken  by  the 
Surrey  soldiers  in  their  first  frenzied  rush  to  regain  what  they 
had  lost  because  of  the  gas.  The  battle  ended  when  there  was 
no  hill  left.  The  bombardment  and  the  mines  had  leveled  the 
mound  by  distributing  it  over  the  surrounding  territory.  The 
British,  however,  were  accorded  the  victory,  as  they  had  trenches 
near  where  the  hill  was  and  made  them  a  part  of  the  base  of  the 
salient  about  Ypres. 

That  town  has  been  likened  to  the  hub  of  a  wheel  whose  spokes 
are  the  roads  which  lead  eastward.  It  is  true  that  one  impor- 
tant road  went  over  the  canal  at  Steenstraate,  but  practically 
all  of  the  highways  of  consequence  went  through  Ypres.  Thus 
the  spokes  of  the  wheel,  whose  rim  was  the  outline  of  the  salient, 
were  the  roads  to  Menin,  Gheluvelt,  Zonnebeke,  Poelcapelle, 
Langemarck,  and  Pilkem.  And  the  railroad  to  Roulers  was  also 
a  spoke.  Hence  all  of  the  supplies  for  the  troops  on  the  salient 
must  pass  through  Ypres,  which  made  it  most  desirable  for  the 
Germans  to  take  the  town.  It  will  be  remembered  that  they  had 
won  a  place  for  their  artillery  early  in  November,  1914,  which 
gave  them  an  opportunity  to  bombard  Ypres  through  the  winter. 
On  February  1,  1915,  a  portion  of  the  French  troops  which  had 
held  the  salient  were  withdrawn  and  their  places  taken  by  Gen- 
eral Bulfin's  Twenty-eighth  Division.    Thus,  by  April  20,  1915, 

BEGINNING    OF   SECOND    BATTLE    OF   YPRES         99 

that  part  of  the  Allies'  front  was  held  as  follows :  From  the  canal 
to  east  of  Langemarck  was  the  Forty-fifth  Division  of  the  French 
army,  consisting  of  colonial  infantry.  One  the  French  right,  to 
the  northeast  of  Zonnebeke,  was  the  Canadian  division,  under 
the  command  of  General  Alderson,  consisting  of  the  Third 
Brigade,  under  General  Turner,  on  the  left,  and  the  Second 
Brigade,  under  General  Currie,  on  the  right.  The  Twenty- 
eighth  Division  extended  from  the  Canadian  right  to  the  south- 
east comer  of  the  Polygon  Wood.  This  division  comprised  the 
Eighty-third,  Eighty-fourth,  and  Eighty-fifth  Brigades  in  order 
from  right  to  left.  The  next  section  of  the  salient  was  held  by 
Princess  Patricia's  Regiment  of  the  Twenty-seventh  Division, 
which  division,  under  the  command  of  General  Snow,  guarded 
the  front  to  the  east  of  Veldhoek  along  the  ridge  to  within  a 
short  distance  of  Hill  60,  where  the  Fifth  Division,  under  the 
command  of  General  Morland,  held  the  line.  The  greater  part 
of  the  German  troops  opposite  the  salient  were  from  Wurttem- 
berg  and  Saxony. 



WHAT  is  called  the  second  battle  of  Ypres  began  with  a  bom- 
bardment of  the  little  city  on  April  20,  1915.  The  rain  of 
shells  continued  on  through  April  22,  1915,  on  the  evening  of 
which  the  British  artillery  observers  reported  a  strange  green 
vapor  moving  over  the  French  trenches.  The  wind  was  blow- 
ing steadily  from  the  northeast.  Soon  the  French  troops  were 
staggering  back  from  the  front,  blinded  and  choking  from  the 
deadly  German  gas.  Many  of  their  comrades  had  been  unable  to 
leave  the  spot  where  they  were  overtaken  by  the  fumes.  Those 
who  fled  in  terror  rushed  madly  across  the  canal,  choking  the 
road  to  Viamertinghe.  A  part  of  the  Zouaves  and  Turcos  ran 
south  toward  the  Langemarck  road,  finally  reaching  the  reserve 

100  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

battalions  of  the  Canadians.  Ere  long  the  Canadians  caught 
the  deadly  odor  also. 

But  the  work  of  the  gas  did  a  much  more  valuable  thing  for 
the  German  troops  than  causing  the  agonizing  death  of  many 
hundreds  and  sending  thousands  in  headlong  flight.  It  made 
a  four-mile-wide  opening  in  the  front  of  the  Allies.  And  the 
Germans  were  quick  to  take  advantage  of  that  opening.  They 
followed  the  gas,  and  were  aided  in  their  advance  by  artillery 
fire.  The  French  were  forced  back  on  the  canal  from  Steen- 
straate  to  Boesinghe.  The  Canadians  had  not  suffered  so  much 
from  the  gas  as  the  French  soldiers,  but  their  flank  was  too 
exposed  for  them  to  do  much  effective  work  against  the  onrush- 
ing  Teutons.  The  attempt  to  rally  the  Turcos  failed.  The  Third 
Brigade  could  not  withstand  the  attack  of  four  divisions,  and  was 
forced  inward  from  a  point  south  of  Poelcappelle  until  its 
left  rested  on  the  wood  east  of  St.  Julien.  There  was  a  gap 
beyond  it,  and  the  Germans  were  forcing  their  way  around  its 
flank.  Because  the  entire  First  Brigade  of  Canadians  had  been 
held  in  reserve  it  could  not  be  brought  up  in  time  to  save  the 
situation.  Two  of  the  battalions,  the  Sixteenth  and  Tenth,  were 
in  the  gap  by  midnight.  They  charged  and  recovered  the 
northern  edge,  and  the  guns  of  the  Second  London  Division, 
which  had  been  supporting  the  French  in  the  wood  east  of  St. 
Julien.  But  the  British  could  not  hold  all  they  retook,  and  were 
forced  to  abandon  the  guns  because  the  artillery  horses  were 
miles  away.  So  parts  of  the  guns  were  made  useless  before  the 
Germans  had  them  again. 

Then  another  counterattack  was  made  by  the  First  and  Fourth 
Ontarios  of  General  Mercer's  First  Brigade.  The  Fourth  Ontario 
captured  the  German  shelter  trenches  and  held  them  for  two 
days,  when  they  were  relieved.  The  Third  Canadian  Brigade 
held  its  position  in  spite  of  being  opposed  by  many  times  their 
numbers  and  almost  overcome  by  the  gas  fumes.  The  Forty- 
eighth  Highlanders,  who  had  had  to  withstand  the  gas,  ral- 
lied after  their  retreat  and  regained  their  former  place  in  the 
front.  The  Royal  Highlanders  kept  their  original  position.  Yet 
there  was  every  indication  of  a  rout.    The  roads  were  clogged  by 



the  night  supply  trains  going  forward  and  the  rush  of  men  trying 
to  escape  from  the  deadly  gas.  The  staff  officers  found  it  impos- 
sible to  straighten  out  the  tangle,  and  the  various  regiments  had 
to  act  almost  as  independent  bodies.  It  was  not  until  early  the 
following  morning,  April  23,  1915,  that  the  first  reenforcements 
of  British  soldiers  appeared  to  fill  the  breach.  These  men,  for 
the  most  part,  were  from  the  Twenty-eighth  Division,  and  had 
been  east  of  Zonnebeke  to  the  southeast  corner  of  Polygon  Wood. 
So  great  was  the  pressure  at  the  section  where  the  break  had 
been  made  in  the  line  that  troops  were  taken  from  wherever 
available,  so  that  the  units  in  the  gap  varied  from  day  to  day. 
For  the  men  had  to  be  returned  to  their  original  positions,  such 
as  remained  available,  as  soon  as  possible.  This  composite  body 
of  troops  has  been  called  Geddes's  Detachment. 

The  Germans  had  captured  Lizerne  and  Het  Sas,  and  Steen- 
straate  was  threatened  by  them.  They  bombarded  with  heavy 
artillery,  located  on  the  Passchendaele  ridge,  the  front  held  by 
the  Canadians,  the  Twenty-eighth  Division,  and  Geddes's  Detach- 
ment, on  April  23,  1915.  The  severest  fighting  was  on  that  part 
of  the  front  held  by  the  Third  Brigade  of  Canadians.  Many  men 
had  been  killed  or  wounded  in  this  brigade,  and  those  who  sur- 
vived were  ill  from  the  effects  of  the  gas.  Furthermore,  no  food 
could  be  taken  to  them  for  twenty-four  hours.  Moreover,  they 
were  subjected  to  a  fire  from  three  sides,  with  the  result  that 
they  were  forced  to  a  new  position  on  a  line  running  through 
St.  Julien.  Finally  the  Germans  forced  their  way  around  to  the 
left  of  the  Third  Brigade,  establishing  their  machine  guns  be- 
hind it. 

A  terrific  artillery  attack  was  started  by  the  Germans  on  the 
morning  of  April  24,  1915,  and  this  was  followed  by  a  second 
rush  of  gas  from  their  trenches.  It  rose  in  a  cloud  seven  feet 
high  and  was  making  its  attack  on  the  British  in  two  minutes 
after  it  started.  It  was  thickest  near  the  ground,  being  pumped 
from  cylinders.  And  it  worked  with  the  same  deadly  effect.  The 
Third  Brigade,  receiving  its  second  attack  of  this  sort  before  it 
had  recovered  from  the  first,  retreated  to  the  southwest  of  St. 
Julien,  but  soon  after  regained  most  of  their  lost  position.    The 

102  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Second  Brigade  had  to  bend  its  left  south.  Colonel  Lipsett's 
Eighth  Battalion,  however,  held  fast  on  the  Grafenstafel  ridge, 
remaining  in  their  position  two  days  in  spite  of  the  gas  of  which 
they  got  a  plentiful  supply. 

By  noon  of  April  24,  1915,  the  Germans  made  an  attack  on  the 
village  of  St.  Julien  and  that  part  of  the  allied  front  to  the  east 
of  the  village.  Thereupon  the  Third  Brigade  retreated  about  700 
yards  to  a  new  front  south  of  the  village  and  north  of  the  hamlet 
of  Fortuin.  But  what  remained  of  the  Thirteenth  and  Fourteenth 
Battalions  was  forced  by  circumstances  to  remain  in  the  St. 
Julien  line  until  late  that  night.  Colonel  Lipsett's  Eighth  Battalion 
at  Grafenstafel,  in  spite  of  its  left  being  unsupported,  held  its 
position  which  was  of  great  importance  to  the  British  front.  For, 
had  that  part  of  the  front  been  lost,  the  Germans  in  an  hour  could 
have  worked  their  way  back  of  the  Twenty-eighth  Division  and 
the  entire  eastern  sector. 

In  the  meantime  the  French  on  the  western  section  of  the 
front  made  a  counterattack  from  the  canal  with  partial  success ; 
but  were  unable  to  drive  the  German  troops  from  the  sector  en- 
tirely. The  Teutons  took  Steenstraate ;  but  their  victory  there 
was  marred  by  the  fact  that  the  Belgian  artillery  smashed  the 
bridge  behind  them.  By  this  time  the  British  reenforcements  be- 
gan to  arrive  in  fairly  large  numbers.  The  Thirteenth  Brigade 
of  the  Fifth  Division  was  placed  to  the  west  of  Geddes's  De- 
tachment, between  the  Pilkem  road  and  the  canal.  Territorials 
who  had  arrived  from  England  only  three  days  before,  the  Dur- 
ham and  York  Brigades  of  the  Northumbrian  Division,  supported 
the  Thirteenth  Brigade.  The  Tenth  Brigade  of  the  Fourth  Di- 
vision were  rushed  to  support  the  Third  Brigade  of  Canadians 
who  were  south  of  St.  Julien.  Other  British  troops  were  sent  to 
relieve  the  tense  situation  at  Grafenstafel. 

An  attempt  to  retake  St.  Julien  was  made  early  on  Sunday 
morning,  April  25,  1915,  by  General  Hull's  Tenth  Brigade  and 
two  battalions  of  the  Durham  and  York  Brigade.  The  British 
worked  their  way  to  the  few  Canadians  who  had  continued  on  the 
former  front  when  the  main  British  force  had  been  driven  back. 
There  they  were  checked  by  the  German  machine  gun  fire.    The 


British  lost  many  men  here  and  the  efforts  to  save  the  day 
resulted  in  such  a  mixture  of  fighting  units  that  there  were 
fifteen  battalions  under  General  Hull,  as  well  as  the  Canadian 

At  Grafenstafel  the  Eighth  Battalion  of  the  Durham  Brigade 
were  bombarded  with  asphyxiating  shells  before  the  German  in- 
fantry attack.  The  fighting  on  this  section  of  the  front  was  fierce 
throughout  the  afternoon,  but  finally  the  British  were  forced  tc 
retire.  At  Broodseinde,  the  extreme  eastern  point  of  the  allied 
front,  the  Germans  made  a  desperate  attempt  to  take  the  salient, 
using  asphyxiating  and  other  bombs  again  and  again  on  the  men 
of  the  Twenty-eighth  Division  of  the  British.  King  George's 
men,  however,  repelled  the  attacks  with  severe  loss  to  the  Teu- 
tons, taking  many  prisoners. 

The  French  on  the  left,  beyond  the  Yperlee  Canal,  prevented 
the  advance  of  the  German  troops;  and,  farther  to  the  left,  the 
Belgians  checked  three  attacks  in  which  asphyxiating  gas  was 
used,  south  of  Dixmude.  Thus  it  may  be  seen  that  the  Germans 
had  met  with  no  success  worth  while,  when  Sunday,  April  25, 
1915,  closed,  so  far  as  the  ends  of  the  salient  were  concerned ;  but 
in  the  center  the  British  situation  was  so  critical  that  the  Second 
Canadian  Brigade,  reduced  to  less  than  1,000  men,  was  once 
more  called  into  action  on  the  following  day.  On  the  same  day, 
April  26,  1915,  the  Lahore  Division  of  the  Indian  army  was 
marched  north  of  Ypres.  The  point  of  the  salient  was  pushed  in 
on  that  day  at  Broodseinde,  but  the  German  success  there  was 
short-lived.  The  brigade  holding  Grafenstafel  was  attacked 
fiercely  by  the  Germans.  The  Durham  Light  Infantry  was  forced 
from  Fortuin  behind  the  Haanabeek  River.  The  Teutons  made 
several  attacks  from  the  St.  Julien  district  against  the  section 
between  the  Yperlee  Canal  and  the  southern  part  of  the  village. 
By  this  time  Geddes's  Detachment  was  almost  exhausted,  they, 
with  the  Canadians,  having  withstood  the  heaviest  fighting  at  the 
beginning  of  the  battle ;  and  most  likely  saved  the  Allies  a  most 
disastrous  defeat.  The  detachment  could  stand  no  more,  and  the 
various  units  of  which  it  was  composed  were  returned  to  their 
respective  commands. 

104  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

But  the  salient  was  growing  smaller  as  a  result  of  the  repeated 
hammering  of  the  Germans ;  and  that  exposed  the  allied  troops 
to  a  more  deadly  fire  from  three  sides.  It  was  evident  that  the 
Allies  must  make  a  counterattack.  General  Riddell's  Bri- 
gade was  sent  to  Fortuin  and  with  the  Lahore  Division  on  its  left 
was  told  to  retake  St.  Julien  and  the  woods  to  the  west  of  the 
village.  Beyond  the  Yperlee  Canal,  on  the  left,  the  French  made 
an  assault  on  Lizeme,  supported  by  the  Belgian  artillery ;  while 
the  French  colonial  soldiers  poured  on  Pilkem  from  the  sector 
about  Boesinghe.  On  the  right  the  allied  troops  were  lined  up 
as  follows :  the  Connaught  Rangers,  Fifty-seventh  Wilde's  Rifles, 
the  Ferozepore  Brigade,  the  129th  Baluchis,  the  Jullundur  Bri- 
gade, and  General  RiddelFs  battalions.  The  Sirhind  Brigade  was 
held  in  reserve. 

The  German  artillerymen  apparently  knew  the  distances  and 
topography  of  the  entire  region  and  poured  a  leaden  hail  upon 
the  allied  troops.  The  Indians  and  the  British  in  their  immediate 
neighborhood  charged  in  short  rushes,  losing  many  men  in  the  at- 
tempt to  reach  the  German  trenches.  Before  the  Germans  were 
in  any  danger  of  a  hand-to-hand  struggle,  they  sent  one  of  their 
gas  clouds  from  their  trenches  and  the  attack  was  abandoned,  the 
British  and  Indians  getting  back  to  their  trenches  as  best  they 
could.  In  this  action  the  British  gave  great  praise  to  their  com- 
rades from  India.  RiddelFs  Brigade  was  stopped  in  its  attack 
on  St.  Julien  by  wire  entanglements ;  and,  though  the  outlaying 
sections  of  St.  Julien  were  captured,  the  brigade  was  unable  to 
hold  them;  and  the  Germans  continued  to  hold  the  woods  west 
of  the  village.  Nevertheless  the  British  front  had  been  pushed 
forward  from  600  to  700  yards  in  some  places. 

By  that  night,  the  night  of  April  26,  1915,  the  allied  front  ex- 
tended from  the  north  of  Zonnebeke  to  the  eastern  boundary  of 
the  Graf enstaf el  ridge ;  thence  southwest  along  the  southern  side 
of  the  Haanabeek  to  a  point  a  half  mile  east  of  St.  Julien ;  thence, 
bending  around  that  village,  it  ran  to  Vamhuele— called  the  "shell 
trap" — farm  on  the  Ypres-Poelcappelle  road.  Next  it  proceeded 
to  Boesinghe  and  crossed  the  Yperlee  Canal,  passing  northward 
of  Lizerne  after  which  were  the  French  and  the  Belgians. 


The  work  of  the  allied  aviators  on  April  26,  1915,  deserves 
more  than  passing  consideration  in  the  record  of  that  day's  fight- 
ing. They  dropped  bombs  on  the  stations  of  Courtrai,  Roubaix, 
Thielt,  and  Staden.  They  discovered  near  Langemarck  an 
armored  train  with  the  result  that  it  was  shelled  and  thus  forced 
to  return.  And  they  forced  a  German  aviator  to  the  ground  at 

The  Lahore  Division  with  the  French  on  their  left  attacked  the 
Germans  on  April  27,  1915,  but  they  met  with  little  success  be- 
cause of  the  gas  which  the  Teutons  sent  into  the  ranks  of  the  at- 
tacking party.  But  the  German  troops  had  lost  so  heavily  that 
they  did  not  seem  to  be  inclined  to  follow  up  their  apparent  ad- 
vantage. Incidentally  the  Allies  needed  a  rest  as  well.  Hence 
there  was  little  fighting  the  next  two  days.  On  April  30,  1915, 
however.  General  Putz  attacked  the  Germans  with  so  much  force 
that  they  were  hurled  back  an  appreciable  distance  near  Pilkem. 
Seven  machine  guns  and  200  prisoners  were  taken,  and  the  214th, 
215th,  and  216th  German  regiments  lost  more  than  1,000  men. 
On  the  same  day  the  London  Rifle  Brigade,  further  east,  drove 
back  a  German  forward  movement  from  St.  Julien. 

West  of  the  Yperlee  Canal,  however,  it  soon  became  known  to 
the  commanders  of  the  allied  forces  that  the  Germans  were  in 
such  a  strong  position  that  it  would  be  impossible  to  dislodge 
their  enemy  until  much  greater  preparations  had  been  made.  In 
the  meantime  the  communications  of  the  Allies  were  in  danger. 
Hence  Sir  John  French  on  May  1,  1915,  ordered  Sir  Herbert 
Plumer  to  retreat.  The  wisdom  of  this  order,  the  execution  of 
which  contracted  the  southern  portion  of  the  salient,  was  seen 
when  the  Germans  again  attempted  to  force  their  way  through 
the  allied  front  by  the  use  of  gas.  The  attempt  this  time  was 
made  between  Zonnebeke,  on  the  Ypres-Roulers  railroad,  and 
Boesinghe  on  the  Yperlee  Canal  on  Sunday,  May  2, 1915.  Though 
the  British  had  been  supplied  with  respirators  of  a  sort,  these 
means  of  defense  were  not  as  effective  as  they  should  have  been 
nor  as  adequate  as  what  was  provided  later.  The  Germans,  how- 
ever, suffered  large  losses  in  this  attack  because,  as  soon  as  the 
wall  of  gas  began  to  approach  the  British  trenches,  the  men  there 

106  THE    STORY    OF  THE    GREAT  WAR 

fired  into  it,  well  knowing  from  past  experience  that  the  Germans 
were  following  the  gas.  In  this  manner  many  of  the  Teutons 
were  slain.  The  Allies  adopted  other  tactics  which  were  quite  as 
effective.  On  seeing  the  gas  approaching,  the  soldiers  in  some 
parts  of  the  line  proceeded  to  execute  a  flank  movement,  thereby 
getting  away  from  the  gas  and  subjecting  the  Germans  to  a 
deadly  fire  from  a  direction  least  expected. 

Between  Fortuin  and  Zonnebeke  and  south  of  St.  Julien  the 
allied  line  broke,  but  the  supports  with  two  cavalry  regiments 
were  rushed  from  Potijze,  a  mile  and  a  half  from  Ypres  on  the 
Zonnebeke  Road,  and  regained  the  lost  ground.  By  night  the 
Germans  decided  to  discontinue  their  attempt  to  advance  and  left 
their  dead  and  wounded  on  the  field. 



THE  Germans  had  only  stopped  the  struggle  for  a  breathing 
spell.  On  the  following  morning,  Monday,  May  3,  they  made 
an  attempt  to  force  the  allied  position  back  again.  This  attempt 
was  made  on  the  British  left,  west  of  the  Bois  des  Cuisenirs,  be- 
tween Pilkem  and  St.  Julien.  The  Germans  cut  their  wire  en- 
tanglements and,  leaving  their  trenches  and  lying  down  in  front 
of  those  protecting  places,  they  were  ready  to  advance ;  but,  be- 
fore they  could  start  forward,  the  artillery  of  their  enemy  did 
such  effective  work  that  the  Teutons  returned  to  their  trenches, 
and  gave  up  an  attack  at  that  point.  But  they  made  an  assault 
against  the  northern  side  of  the  salient  which  had  by  this  time 
become  very  narrow.  A  German  bomb  wrecked  a  section  of  the 
British  trenches,  and  the  defenders  of  that  part  of  the  line  had  to 
go  back  of  a  wood  that  was  a  little  to  the  northwest  of  Grafen- 
stafel,  where  they  were  able  to  stop  the  German  onrush. 

The  Belgians  were  bombarded  with  asphyxiating  gas  bombs 
beyond  the  French  lines  south  of  Dixmude.  The  Germans  charged 


the  Belgian  trenches  only  to  be  cut  down  by  machine-gun  fire. 
That  night,  the  night  of  May  3,  1915,  an  attack  was  made  on  the 
British  front ;  but  it  was  stopped  by  the  artillery. 

Sir  Herbert  Plumer  in  the  meantime  had  been  executing  the 
order  he  had  received  from  Sir  John  French,  and  shortened  his 
lines  so  they  were  three  miles  less  in  length  than  before  starting 
the  movement.  The  new  line  extended  from  the  French  position 
west  of  the  Ypres-Langemarck  Road  and  proceeded  through 
"shell-trap"  farm  to  the  Haanebeek  and  the  eastern  part  of  the 
Frezenberg  ridge  where  it  turned  south,  covering  Bellewaarde 
Lake  and  Hooge  and  bent  around  Hill  60.  This  resulted  in  leav- 
ing to  the  Germans  the  Veldhoek,  Bosche,  and  Polygon  Woods, 
and  Fortuin  and  Zonnebeke.  This  new  front  protected  all  of  the 
roads  to  Ypres,  and,  at  the  same  time,  it  was  not  necessary  to 
employ  as  many  soldiers  to  hold  this  line.  Moreover  the  de- 
fenders of  it  could  not  be  fired  upon  from  three  sides  as  long 
as  they  held  it.  In  some  places  the  British  and  German  trenches 
had  been  no  more  than  ten  yards  apart,  but  the  difficulty  of 
evacuating  the  British  position  was  completed  in  safety  on  the 
night  of  May  3,  1915.  The  work  included  the  taking  with  them 
780  wounded.  Sharpshooters  were  left  in  the  trenches,  however, 
and  they  maintained  such  an  appearance  of  activity  and  alertness 
that  the  Germans  kept  on  shelling  the  trenches  all  of  the  follow- 
ing day. 

The  attempt  of  General  Putz  to  force  the  Germans  back  across 
the  Yperlee  Canal  on  May  4,  1915,  was  stopped  by  a  combination 
of  machine  guns,  asphyxiating  gas  and  fog.  Then  the  French  spent 
the  next  ten  days  in  tunneling  to  Steenstraate.  Their  tunnels 
toward  their  objective  point  were  through  that  territory  between 
Boesinghe  and  Lizerne.  On  May  5,  1915  the  Germans  made  a 
careful  advance  on  the  British  front  under  the  cover  of  fog  and 
a  heavy  bombardment,  to  find  only  that  the  British  position  had 
been  changed.  But  they  intrenched  opposite  the  new  alignment, 
and  brought  up  their  big  guns.  Then  they  used  poisonous  gas 
again  with  the  result  that  the  British  retreated  and  the  Teutons 
followed,  in  spite  of  tlie  many  men  who  fell  because  of  the  accu- 
rate  work  of  the  British  artillery.  The  greater  part  of  this  action 

108  THE    STORY     OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

took  place  around  Hill  60,  and  some  of  the  British  trenches  to  the 
north  of  the  hill  were  captured  by  the  Germans.  They  then  pene- 
trated toward  Zillebeke  to  the  supporting  line.  Up  to  midnight 
the  Germans  seemed  to  be  victorious ;  then,  however,  the  British 
drove  them  from  the  hill  only  to  be  driven  away  in  turn  by  the 
use  of  asphyxiating  gas.  On  the  following  day  the  Teutons  held 
Hill  60  and  some  of  the  trenches  north  of  it. 

Asphyxiating  gas  also  had  been  used  in  an  attempt  to  break 
the  British  front  on  the  left,  on  both  the  north  and  south  sides  of 
the  Ypres-Roulers  railroad.  Though  this  attack  failed,  the  Teu- 
tons were  ready  to  make  as  near  superhuman  efforts  as  possible 
because  they  knew  that  the  French  were  getting  ready  for  a  de- 
cisive action  in  the  Arras  territory,  which  would  have  the  aid  of 
a  British  attack  south  of  the  Lys.  Hence  it  was  to  the  advan- 
tage of  the  Germans  to  force  Sir  John  French  and  General  Foch 
to  retain  most  of  the  British  and  French  soldiers  north  of 
the  Lys.  On  May  8,  1915,  they  turned  their  artillery  on  that 
part  of  the  British  front  that  was  near  Frezenberg.  It  de- 
stroyed the  trenches  and  killed  or  wounded  hundreds  of  the  de- 
fenders. After  three  hours  of  this,  the  Germans  commenced  an 
attack  on  that  part  of  the  British  front  between  the  Ypres-Menin 
and  the  Ypres-Poelcappelle  highways,  the  greatest  pressure  being 
brought  to  bear  along  both  sides  of  the  Ypres-Roulers  railroad. 

The  British  fought  bravely,  but  it  was  impossible  for  them  to 
hold  out  against  the  avalanche  of  lead.  First  the  right  of  a 
brigade  went  to  pieces  and  then  its  center  and  the  left  of  an- 
other brigade  south  of  it  were  forced  back.  Princess  Patricia's 
Canadian  Light  Infantry  held  fast.  The  Second  Essex  Regiment 
also  made  some  little  success  for  their  side  by  annihilating  a 
small  detachment  of  Germans ;  but  that  was  more  than  offset  by 
the  breaking  of  the  center  of  another  brigade,  after  which  the 
First  Suffolks  were  surrounded  and  put  out  of  the  fight.  Finally 
the  Germans  pushed  their  way  on  to  Frezenberg.  Sir  Herbert 
Plumer  realized  by  the  middle  of  the  afternoon  that  a  counter- 
attack was  necessary.  He  had  held  two  battalions  in  reserve 
along  the  Ypres-Menin  Road.  He  also  had  five  battalions  with 
him  and  reenf orcements  in  the  form  of  a  brigade  of  infantry  had 


arrived  at  Vlamertinghe  Chateau,  back  of  Ypres.  He  sent  the 
First  Royal  Warwickshires,  the  Second  Royal  Dublin  Fusiliers, 
the  Second  Surreys,  the  Third  Middlesex,  and  the  First  York  and 
Lancaster  Regiments  into  the  break  in  the  line  with  the  result 
that  Frezenberg  was  retaken.  This  victory  was  short-lived,  how- 
ever ;  for  the  German  machine-gun  fire  was  too  fierce  for  the  men 
to  withstand.  The  British  retired  to  a  new  front  which  ran  north 
and  south  through  Verlorenhoek.  The  Twelfth  London  Regiment^ 
on  the  left,  though  it  lost  many  men,  managed  to  get  to  the 
original  line  of  trenches.  Next  the  British  were  menaced  from 
the  north  and  east.  Great  bodies  of  Teutons  rushed  from  the 
woods  south  of  the  Menin  highway,  when  others  rushed  down  the 
Poelcappelle  Road  and  took  Wieltje,  which  is  only  about  two  miles 
from  Ypres. 

The  fighting  continued  all  night,  but  shortly  after  midnight 
the  British  charged  with  the  bayonet  and  retook  Wieltje  as  well 
as  most  of  that  section  to  the  north  of  it  which  they  had  lost 
Early  on  May  9,  1915,  the  fighting  was  continued,  and,  in  the 
afternoon,  the  Germans  charged  from  the  woods  in  a  vain  at- 
tempt to  take  Ypres  after  a  severe  bombardment  of  the  British 
trenches.  An  attacking  party  of  five  hundred  was  slain  north  of 
the  town.  On  the  eastern  side  of  the  salient  there  were  five  dis- 
tinct attacks.  An  attempt  to  capture  the  Chateau  Hooge  was 
made  early  in  the  evening,  only  to  result  in  heaping  the  ground 
with  German  dead.  The  day  closed  with  150  yards  of  British 
trenches  in  the  hands  of  the  Germans ;  but  they  had  been  taken 

tt  a  fearful  cost  to  the  kaiser's  men. 
The  Germans  began  the  next  day.  May  10,  1915,  by  shelling 
he  British  north  and  south  of  the  Ypres-Menin  road.  They  fol- 
)wed  the  cannonade  with  a  cloud  of  asphyxiating  gas.  They  then 
tarted  for  the  opposing  trenches.  Many  of  them,  the  British 
liege,  wore  British  uniforms.  The  British  had  by  now  been 
equipped  with  proper  respirators  and  could  withstand  a  gas  at- 
tack with  comparative  ease.  When  the  Germans  were  in  close 
range  they  received  a  rifle  and  machine-gun  fire  that  mowed  them 
down  almost  instantly.  Those  who  had  not  been  shot  fell  to  the 
ground  to  escape  the  leaden  hail.    But  escape  was  not  for  them. 

110  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Shrapnel  was  poured  upon  them,  and  nearly  all  of  the  attacking 
troops  perished. 

Another  gas  attack  was  made  between  the  Ypres-Menin  road 
and  the  Ypres-Comines  canal.  There  two  batteries  of  gas  cylin- 
ders sent  forth  their  deadly  fumes  for  more  than  a  half  hour. 
The  cloud  that  resulted  became  so  dense  that  it  was  impossible 
for  the  British  in  the  opposite  trenches  to  see  anything ;  so  they 
were  withdrawn  temporarily ;  but  the  troops  to  the  left  and  right 
kept  the  Germans  from  following  up  this  advantage  and  the 
trenches  were  saved  to  the  British.  When  the  gas  had  passed 
away  the  men  returned  to  their  former  position.  North  of  the 
Menin  road,  however,  the  Germans  were  successful  in  driving 
the  Fourth  Rifle  Brigade  and  the  Third  King's  Royal  Rifles  to  a 
new  position,  the  trenches  which  the  British  occupied  having 
been  battered  by  shell  fire  to  such  an  extent  that  some  of  the  oc- 
cupants were  buried  alive.  Hence  the  British  here  retreated  to  a 
new  line  of  trenches  west  of  the  Bellewaarde  Wood  where  the 
trees  had  been  shelled  until  they  were  part  of  a  hopeless  entangle- 
ment rather  than  a  forest. 

The  next  day,  May  11, 1915,  was  started  by  the  Germans  hurl- 
ing hundreds  of  incendiary  shells  into  the  already  ruined  town 
of  Ypres.  They  also  fired  almost  countless  high-explosive  shells 
into  the  British  trenches.  The  British  big  guns  replied  with  con- 
siderable effect.  One  of  the  German  cannon  was  rendered  use- 
less by  the  fire  of  the  Thirty-first  Heavy  Battery,  and  several 
howitzers  were  damaged  by  the  North  Midland  Heavy  Battery. 
The  German  cannonade  was  especially  effective  near  the  Ypres- 
St.  Julien  road.  The  Teutons,  however,  did  not  confine  their  work 
to  the  artillery,  for  they  made  three  assaults  on  the  British 
trenches  south  of  the  Menin  road.  This  part  of  the  line  was  held 
by  Scottish  regiments,  who,  though  they  were  forced  out  of  their 
trenches,  regained  them  with  the  aid  of  other  Scots  who  were  sup- 
porting them. 

By  now  it  was  apparent  to  the  British  commanding  officers 
that  they  must  still  further  lessen  the  projection  of  their  salient. 
So  on  May  12,  1915,  the  Twenty-eighth  Division  was  sent  to  the 
reserve.    It  had  experienced  continuous  fighting  since  April  22, 


1915,  and  had  suffered  severe  losses.  It  had  only  one  lieutenant 
colonel.  Captains  were  in  command  of  most  of  its  battalions. 
The  First  and  Third  Cavalry  Divisions  took  its  place.  They 
were  under  the  command  of  General  De  Lisle.  From  left  to 
right  the  new  line  was  held  as  follows :  The  men  of  the  Twelfth 
Brigade,  the  Eleventh  Brigade,  and  a  battalion  of  the  Tenth 
Brigade  of  the  Fourth  Division  guarded  the  new  front  to  a  point 
northeast  of  Verlorenhoek. '  Next  came  the  First  Cavalry  which 
held  the  line  to  the  Roulers  railroad.  From  the  railroad  to  Belle- 
waarde  Lake  the  Third  Division  held  the  line.  From  the  lake  to 
Hill  60  the  Twenty-seventh  Division  had  its  position.  The 
British  admitted  that  this  new  position  was  not  strong,  because  it 
lacked  natural  advantages,  and  the  trenches  werq  more  or  less 
of  hasty  construction. 

The  Germans  started  a  heavy  bombardment  of  the  cavalry  on 
May  13,  1915,  when  the  rain  was  pouring  in  torrents  and  a  north 
wind  was  adding  to  the  discomforts  of  the  British.    The  fiercest 
part  of  this  attack  was  on  the  Third  Division.    Some  idea  of  the 
fierceness  of  the  bombardment  can  be  gained  when  it  is  known 
that  in  a  comparatively  short  space  of  time  more  than  eight 
hundred  shells  were  hurled  on  a  part  of  the  British  line  which 
was  not  more  than  a  mile  in  length.    In  places  the  British  were 
buried  alive.    In  spite  of  the  destructive  fire,  the  North  Somerset 
Yeomanry,  commanded  by  Lieutenant  Colonel  Glyn,  charged  the 
Germans  who  were  advancing  on  their  trenches  under  cover  of 
the  bombardment.    The  charge  was  effective,  and  the  Teutons 
were  driven  headlong  toward  their  own  trenches.    But  the  Ger- 
man artillery  had  the  range  of  the  Seventh  Brigade  on  the  right, 
and  poured  upon  it  such  a  fire  that  it  retreated  several  hundred 
'-ards,  leaving  the  right  of  the  Sixth  Brigade  exposed.    As  soon 
IS  possible  the  British  made  an  attempt  to  remedy  the  defect  in 
leir  line,  and  found  it  necessary  to  make  a  counterattack.    In 
lis  counterattack  very  satisfactory  results  were  obtained  by  the 
ise  of  the  Duke  of  Westminster's  armored  motor  cars.     The 
tritish  regained  the  lost  ground,  but  they  found  it  impossible  to 
itain  it,  for  the  Teuton's  heavy  artillery  had  the  range  of  the 
iition  so  accurately  that  no  man  could  live  there.    The  result 

8— War  St.  3 

112  THE    STORY     OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

of  the  day's  fighting  was  a  farther  pushing  back  of  the  line  of 
the  British  so  that  it  bent  backward  from  Verlorenhoek  and 
Bellewaarde  Lake.  In  addition  to  being  forced  back,  the  British 
suffered  a  large  loss  of  men,  especially  officers. 

The  infantry  on  the  left  had  been  fiercely  attacked  on  this  same 
day ;  but  it  managed  to  keep  from  being  driven  from  its  position. 
One  of  the  defenders  of  this  part  of  the  line  was  a  territorial  bat- 
talion, the  London  Rifle  Brigade.  There  were  only  278  men  in  the 
battalion  at  the  beginning  of  the  day,  it  having  suffered  severe 
losses  previously.  By  night  ninety-one  more  had  been  lost.  Four 
survivors,  under  command  of  Sergeant  Douglas  Belcher,  and  two 
hussars  whom  the  sergeant  had  added  to  his  squad,  held  that  part 
of  the  line  in  the  face  of  repeated  attacks.  These  plucky  men 
not  only  made  the  Germans  think  the  front  was  strongly  de- 
fended there  by  using  quick-firing  methods,  but  they  undoubt- 
edly saved  the  right  of  the  Fourth  Division.  Another  especially 
gallant  piece  of  work  on  the  part  of  the  British  was  done  by  the 
Second  Essex,  the  reserve  battalion  of  the  Twelfth  Brigade.  With 
a  bayonet  charge  they  drove  the  Germans  from  Shelltrap  Farm, 
which  was  between  the  Langemarck  and  Poelcappelle  highways, 
and,  though  it  was  held  by  first  one  side  and  then  the  other,  the 
British  had  it  at  the  close  of  the  day  in  spite  of  the  bom- 
bardment it  received. 

The  French  met  with  better  success  on  the  British  left.  Under 
the  command  of  General  Putz  they  made  an  attack  on  Het  Sase 
and  Steenstraate.  The  sharpshooters  of  the  Zouaves  and  Alge- 
rians took  a  trench  in  front  of  the  latter  place  and  entered  the 
village.  They  fought  on  to  the  canal  by  the  end  of  that  day,  which 
was  May  15,  1915.  More  than  six  hundred  Teuton  dead  were 
counted  after  that  engagement.  At  the  same  time  the  Zouaveaf 
captured  Het  Sase  with  great  ease,  because  the  artillery  had  ren- 
dered its  defenders  useless  for  more  fighting.  The  Germans, 
however,  were  not  inclined  to  give  up  the  town  so  easily.  They 
bombarded  Het  Sase  that  night,  using  asphyxiating  shells.  Noth- 
ing daunted,  the  Zouaves  put  on  their  respirators  and  drove  off 
with  hand  grenades  and  rifle  fire  the  Germans  who  followed  in 
the  wake  of  the  poisonous  shells.    On  the  following  day  it  was 






/k      -k  2. 


114  THE    STORY     OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

said  that  the  only  Germans  left  alive  on  the  left  side  of  the 
Yperlee  Canal  were  either  wounded  or  prisoners.  The  French 
had  destroyed  three  German  regiments,  taken  three  redoubts,  and 
captured  four  fortified  lines  and  three  villages.  In  this  connec- 
tion it  may  not  be  amiss  to  note  that  the  French  reported  that, 
on  May  15,  1915,  the  German  Marine  Fusiliers  who  were  at- 
tempting to  hold  the  Yperlee  Canal  concluded  it  was  the  better 
part  of  valor  to  surrender.  Before  the  Germans  could  relinquish 
their  places  they  were  shot  down  by  their  comrades  in  the 

Fighting  along  the  line  of  the  salient  continued  with  more  or 
less  vigor  for  nearly  ten  days,  but,  until  May  24,  1915,  there  were 
no  engagements  that  had  much  out  of  the  ordinary.  On  that  date, 
however,  the  entire  front  from  Belle waarde  Lake  to  Shelltrap,  a 
line  three  miles  in  length,  was  bombarded  with  asphyxiating 
shells.  This  was  followed  by  a  gas  cloud  that  was  sent  against  the 
same  extent  of  trenches.  The  wind  sent  the  cloud  in  a  south- 
westerly direction,  so  that  the  deadly  fumes  got  in  their  work 
along  nearly  five  miles  of  the  front.  It  is  asserted  that  the  cloud 
was  40  feet  in  height,  and  that  the  Germans  continued  to  renew 
the  supply  of  gas  for  four  and  a  half  hours.  It  had  little  effect 
wherever  the  British  used  their  respirators,  for  they  managed  to 
stay  in  their  positions  without  undue  inconvenience.  Those  who 
suffered  the  most  from  the  gas  cloud  were  the  infantry  of  the 
Fourth  Division  on  the  left.  The  cloud  which  had  followed  the 
asphyxiating  shells  was  in  turn  followed  by  a  severe  bombard- 
ment from  three  sides — the  east,  northeast,  and  north.  The 
principal  attacks  were  made  in  the  neighborhood  of  Shelltrap, 
the  British  front  along  the  Roulers  railroad,  and  along  the 
Menin  road  in  the  vicinity  of  Bellewaarde  Lake.  In  those  places 
the  British  were  pushed  back  at  least  temporarily ;  but  counter- 
attacks were  delivered  before  nightfall,  and  the  greater  part  of 
the  lost  ground  regained.  Thus,  to  the  disappointment  of  the 
Germans,  their  extra  effort,  with  all  the  means  of  warfare  at 
their  disposal,  had  resulted  only  in  reducing  the  salient  at  an 
enormous  cost  in  lives  on  both  sides,  but  the  gain  had  been  for 
the  most  part  temporary. 

OTHER   ACTIONS    ON   THE    WESTERN    FRONT       115 

Before  leaving  the  consideration  of  the  second  battle  of  Yprea 
it  may  be  well  to  estimate  what  has  been  gained  and  lost  by  both 
sides.  In  the  attempt  to  wear  down  their  opponents  one  side  had 
inflicted  as  much  of  a  blow  as  the  other,  to  all  intents  and  pur- 
poses, for  there  had  been  an  almost  prodigal  waste  of  human  life 
and  ammunition.  The  distinct  advantage  that  Germany  had 
gained  was  in  pushing  back  and  almost  flattening  out  the  prow 
of  the  British  salient,  and  they  had  demonstrated  the  superiority 
of  their  artillery.  Britain,  on  the  other  hand,  had  lost  no  stra- 
tegical advantage  by  the  change  of  her  line.  The  knowledge  that 
Germany  had  a  superior  artillery  acted  as  a  stimulant  in  making 
the  British  provide  a  better  equipment  of  big  guns.  But  the 
British  had  demonstrated  the  great  superiority  of  their  infantry 
over  that  of  Germany.  In  fact  there  was  comfort  to  be  derived 
by  the  friends  of  each  side  as  a  result  of  the  second  battle  of  Ypres. 
The  fighting  had  to  stop,  as  far  as  being  a  general  engagement 
was  concerned.  There  were  other  parts  of  the  front  in  western 
Europe  which  were  becoming  by  far  too  active  for  either  the 
Germans  or  the  British  to  neglect  them.  Hence  it  is  necessary  to 
leave  Ypres  and  the  brave  men  who  fell  there,  and  consider  what 
was  being  done  elsewhere. 



^URING  the  time  in  which  the  foregoing  actions  had  been  tak- 
ing place,  there  was  activity  on  the  part  of  the  Allies  and  the 
rermans  in  other  sections  of  the  great  western  front.    It  is  true 
[that  not  much  was  accomplished  in  Alsace  in  either  April  or 
[ay;  for  the  fighting  in  the  plains  had  been  for  the  most  part 
rhat  may  be  termed  trench  warfare.    The  most  important  en- 
gagement had  been  the  effort  to  take  and  hold  Hartmannsweiler- 
[kopf ,  the  spur  of  the  Molkenrain  massif,  which  controls  the  union 

116  THE    STORY     OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

of  the  Thur  and  the  111.  The  top  of  this  rise  of  ground,  it  will  be 
remembered,  had  been  won  by  the  Germans  on  January  21,  1915; 
but  the  heights  west  of  it  and  their  slopes  were  in  the  possession 
of  the  French,  who  desired  to  add  the  spur  to  their  possessions. 
For  this  purpose  the  French  artillery  bombarded  it  on  March  25, 
1915,  and  continued  their  work  on  the  following  day,  March  26, 
1915,  when  the  Chasseurs  stormed  the  height,  and,  after  fighting 
for  six  hours,  gained  the  top  and  captured  400  prisoners.  But 
the  Germans  had  no  intention  of  giving  their  opponents  such  a 
hold  on  the  control  of  the  valley  of  the  111,  so  there  were  many 

While  the  Germans  were  attempting  to  retake  the  summit,  the 
French  were  making  desperate  efforts  to  drive  the  Teutons  from 
the  eastern  slopes.  The  Germans  were  temporarily  successful, 
but  their  success  was  short-lived,  for  the  French  retook  the  top 
on  April  28, 1915.  During  the  next  month.  May,  both  sides  made 
claims  of  success;  but  what  each  actually  possessed  was  as  fol- 
lows: The  French  had  the  top  and  all  of  the  western  portion; 
the  Germans  possessed  the  summit  ridge,  and  the  east  and  north- 
east portions.  But,  until  the  French  held  the  entire  mountain, 
they  could  make  little  use  of  it  in  controlling  the  111  Valley. 

The  fighting  in  the  other  part  of  the  Vosges  had  to  do  prin- 
cipally with  the  valley  of  the  Fecht.  The  stream  runs  from 
Schlucht  and  Bramont  east,  and  proceeds  past  Mtinster  and  Met- 
zeral.  On  its  right  bank  is  the  railroad  from  Colmar  to  Metzeral. 
The  heights  in  the  upper  part  of  the  valley  were  held  by  the 
Chasseurs  Alpins;  and  they  desired  to  take  both  towns. 
Throughout  the  month  of  April  the  French  were  fairly  success- 
ful on  both  banks  of  the  river.  The  spur  above  Metzeral  to  the 
northwest  was  taken  by  them.  The  ridge  between  the  two 
valleys  was  captured  by  the  French  on  April  17,  1915.  The  fight- 
ing here  was  continued  throughout  May,  1915. 

The  next  scene  of  activity  was  north,  where  there  was  a  wooded 
plateau  between  the  Moselle  and  the  Meuse.  Here  the  Germans^ 
had  a  salient  which  was  long  and  quite  narrow.  The  point  of  this| 
salient  was  at  St.  Mihiel,  the  other  side  of  the  Meuse.  This] 
point  was  well  protected  by  the  artillery  siX  Camp  des  Romains,; 


which  controlled  the  section  for  ten  miles  in  any  direction.  To 
the  north  of  the  salient  there  was  a  railroad  from  Etain  to  Metz. 
There  was  another  line  twenty  miles  to  the  south.  This  ran  from 
Metz  to  Thiaucourt  by  the  Rupt  de  Mad.  The  village  of 
Vigneulles  was  about  in  the  center  of  the  narrow  part  of  the 
salient,  and  on  the  road  to  St.  Mihiel.  There  was  a  better  road 
to  the  south  through  Apremont  A  strategic  railroad  had  been 
built  from  Thiaucourt  by  Vigneulles  to  St.  Mihiel,  down  the  Gap 
of  Spada,  which  is  an  opening  between  the  hills  of  the  Meuse 
Valley.  The  plateau  of  Les  Eparges  is  north  of  Vigneulles.  The 
plateau  is  approximately  1,000  feet  above  the  sea  level,  and  forms 
the  eastern  border  of  the  heights  of  the  Meuse.  There  was  high 
land  on  the  southern  side  of  the  salient,  along  which  ran  the 
main  road  from  Commercy  to  Pont-a-Mousson.  Within  the 
salient  the  land  was  rough  and,  to  a  considerable  extent,  covered 
with  wood. 

The  French  did  not  plan  to  make  an  attack  on  the  salient  at  its 

apex.    The  artillery  at  Camp  des  Remains  would  be  too  effective. 

The  French  plan  was  to  press  in  the  sides  of  the  salient  and 

finally  control  the  St.  Mihiel  communications.    The  southeastern 

side  of  the  salient,  at  the  beginning  of  April,  1915,  extended  from 

St.  Mihiel  to  Camp  des  Remains,  thence  to  Bois  d'Ailly,  Apre- 

mont,  Boudonville,  Regnieville,  and  finally  to  the  Moselle,  three 

miles  north  of  Pont-a-Mousson.     The  northwestern  side  was 

marked  by  an  imaginary  line  drawn  from  Etain  in  the  north  past 

Fresnes,  over  the  Les  Eparges  Heights,  and  thence  by  Lamor- 

ville  and  Spada  to  St.  Mihiel.     The  place  of  most  importance, 

from  a  military  point  of  view,  was  the  Les  Eparges  plateau, 

which  controlled  the  greater  part  of  the  northern  section  of  the 

ilient.    The  taking  of  this  plateau  would  naturally  be  the  first 

Jtep  in  capturing  Vigneulles.    But  the  Germans  had  converted 

ies  Eparges  into  what  had  the  appearance  of  being  an  impreg- 

lable  fort,  when  they  took  it  on  September  21,  1914.    Their 

•enches  lined  the  slopes,  and  everji^hing  had  been  made  secure 

for  a  possible  siege.    The  French  in  February  and  March,  1915, 

Lowever,  had  taken  the  village  of  Les  Eparges  and  a  portion  of 

le  steep  side  on  the  northwest.    But  of  necessity  they  made 

118  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

progress  slowly,  because  they  were  in  such  an  exposed  position 
whenever  they  sought  the  top.  They  had  planned  an  assault  for 
April  5,  1915,  and,  in  a  heavy  rain,  with  the  slope  a  great  mass  of 
deep  mud,  the  French  gained  some  territory.  This  they  were 
unable  to  hold  when  the  Germans  made  a  counterattack  on  the 
following  morning,  April  6,  1915.  That  night  the  soldiers  of  the 
republic  forced  their  way  up  with  the  bayonet,  taking  1,500  yards 
of  trenches,  by  the  morning  of  April  7,  1915.  Thereupon  the 
Germans  brought  up  reenforcements,  which  were  rendered  use- 
less by  the  French  artillery,  which  prevented  them  from  going 
forward  to  the  battle  line.  The  German  artillery  used  the  same 
tactics,  with  the  result  that  the  French  reenforcements  were  kept 
out  of  the  fight.  After  the  cannons  had  completed  their  work, 
both  sides  were  apparently  willing  to  rest  for  the  remainder  of 
the  day.  But  on  the  morning  of  April  8,  1915,  two  regiments  of 
infantry  and  a  battalion  of  Chasseurs  forced  their  way  to  the 
top,  which  they  took  after  an  hour*s  hard  fighting.  That  pushed 
the  Germans  back  to  the  eastern  slope.  Then  the  battle  was 
fought  on  during  the  remainder  of  the  day,  which  found  the 
French,  at  its  close,  in  possession  of  all  except  a  little  triangle  in 
the  eastern  section. 

Some  idea  of  the  conditions  confronting  those  who  attempted 
the  ascent  may  be  gained  when  it  is  learned  that  fourteen  hours 
were  required  by  the  hardy  French  troops  to  go  up  to  relieve 
their  comrades  who  gained  the  top.  This  relief  was  not  sent  until 
the  following  day,  April  9,  1915.  On  that  day  the  Germans  in  the 
little  triangle  were  driven  off  or  slain.  One  of  the  sudden  and 
dense  fogs  of  the  region  appeared  later  and  made  a  cover  for  a 
German  counterattack.  The  French  were  at  a  disadvantage, 
but  they  quickly  rallied,  and,  the  fog  suddenly  lifting,  they  em- 
ployed a  bayonet  charge  with  such  good  effect  that  the  Germans 
were  driven  off  with  large  losses.  The  importance  of  this 
achievement  to  the  Allies  is  not  likely  to  be  overestimated.  The 
height  of  Les  Eparges  dominated  the  Woevre  district,  and  its: 
capture  by  the  French  was  one  of  the  most  heroic  feats  of  the 
war.  The  Germans  placed  as  high  a  value  on  the  height  for 
military  purposes  ai?  the  French.    They  had  spent  the  winter  in 

OTHER   ACTIONS    ON   THE    WESTERN    FRONT       119 

O  I  2  S  4 

MARCH     ^9*9 


120  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

adding  to  what  nature  had  made  nearly  perfect — ^the  impregna- 
bility of  the  entire  sector.  They  intrusted  its  defense,  when  an 
attack  seemed  likely,  only  to  first-line  troops,  the  Tenth  Division 
of  the  Fifth  Corps  from  Posen  holding  it  when  the  French  made 
their  successful  attack.  To  gain  the  height  it  was  necessary  for 
the  French  to  climb  the  slimy  sides,  which  were  swept  by  machine- 
gun  fire.  The  Germans  knew  the  exact  range  of  every  square 
foot  of  the  slopes.  There  was  no  place  that  offered  even  a  slight 
shelter  for  the  attacking  force.  The  weather  was  at  its  worst. 
Yet,  in  spite  of  the  many  difficulties  which  seemed  insurmount- 
able, the  French  soldiers  had  won  the  most  decisive  engagement 
in  this  part  of  the  campaign. 

It  is  true  the  Teutons  occupied  the  lesser  spur  of  Combres; 
but  that  gave  them  little  or  no  advantage,  for  no  attack  could  be 
made  from  it  without  subjecting  the  attacking  party  to  a  leaden 
hail  from  St.  Remy  and  Les  Eparges.  But  the  German  sahent 
still  remained,  and  the  French  continued  their  pressure  on  it. 
They  pushed  forward  in  the  north  to  Etain,  and  took  the  hills  on 
the  right  bank  of  the  Orne,  which  hampered  their  enemy  in  his 
use  of  the  Etain-Conflans  railroad.  They  closed  in  on  the  re- 
entrant of  the  salient  to  the  north — Gussainville ;  and  they  used 
the  same  tactics  in  regard  to  Lamorville,  because  it  dominated  the 
Gap  of  Spada ;  and  to  the  north  of  it  they  exerted  a  pressure  on 
the  Bois  de  la  Selouse.  The  engagements  on  the  south  of  the 
salient  were  fought  desperately.  The  part  of  the  top  which  falls 
away  to  the  Rupt  de  Mad  was  held  by  the  French.  That  section 
is  covered  with  a  low  wood,  which  develops  into  presentable  for- 
ests in  the  region  toward  the  Moselle  Valley  to  the  east.  The 
Teutons  had  taken  every  advantage  of  the  ground  in  construct- 
ing their  fortifications,  and  the  French  found  a  hard  task  before 
them.  They  proceeded  against  their  opponents  in  the  Bois 
d^Ailly,  the  Forest  of  Apremont,  the  Bois  de  Mont-Mare,  the 
village  of  Regnieville,  and  the  Bois  le  Pretre.  Though  each  suc- 
cess was  not  large,  the  entire  effort  was  effective  in  pushing  in 
the  southern  side  of  the  salient.  This  brought  the  soldiers  of  the 
republic  to  within  about  four  miles  of  Thiaucourt,  which,  with  the 
control  of  Les  Eparges,  threatened  St.  Mihiel. 



The  French  heavy  artillery  shelled  the  southern  front  of  the 
trenches  at  Metz  on  May  1,  1915.  The  great  desire  to  take  Alsace 
and  Lorraine,  however,  was  set  aside  early  in  the  month.  The 
plight  of  Russia  at  this  time  made  it  imperative  for  the  Allies  to 
make  a  great  movement  on  the  western  front  to  prevent  as  much 
as  possible  the  pressure  on  the  czar's  line.  Hence  the  campaign 
which  seemed  to  be  planned  by  the  French  was  abandoned  for  a 
larger  opportunity.  This  was  the  advance  of  the  Tenth  Army  in 
the  Artois  over  the  plain  of  the  Scheldt  in  the  direction  of  Douai 
and  Valenciennes,  thereby  threatening  the  communications  of  the 
entire  Teuton  line  from  Soissons  to  Lille.  Hence  the  French 
started  a  vigorous  movement  against  Lens,  while  the  British 
sought  to  take  Lille. 



TO  understand  properly  the  campaign  in  the  Artois,  it  is  neces- 
sary to  have  at  least  a  fair  knowledge  of  the  geography 
and  the  topography  of  the  territory  between  La  Bassee  and 

The  valley  of  the  Scarpe  is  held  in  on  the  south  by  low  hills,  and 
on  the  north  by  a  low  plateau,  which  descends  in  long  ridges  to 
the  valley  of  the  Lys  and  the  plains  about  Lens.  The  greatest  alti- 
tude in  this  section  is  the  ridge  known  as  Notre-Dame  de  Lorette, 
running  east  and  west,  and  containing  numerous  ravines.  To  the 
south  of  it,  in  a  little  valley,  is  the  town  of  Albain  St.  Nazaire. 
Carency  is  opposite  on  the  next  ridge.  Next  is  the  Bois  de 
Berthonval  in  the  middle  of  a  wide  depression.  Beyond,  the  land 
ascends  to  Mont  St.  Eloi.  The  valley  of  the  Lys  is  to  the  north  of 
the  Lorette  ridge.  To  the  east  the  land  descends  to  the  long, 
;  narrow  valley  in  which  is  the  highway  between  Arras  and 
Bethune.  La  Targette  and  Souchez  are  along  the  way.  Again 
the  land  rolls  upward  to  the  hills  of  Vimy  with  the  Lens-Arras 
highway  beyond  them. 

122  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

The  Teutons  held  a  saUent  in  this  region  at  the  beginning  of 
May,  1915.  The  Hne  which  bounded  this  saUent  ran  east  of  Loos 
over  the  Bethune-Lens  road,  east  of  Aix-Noulette,  and  appeared 
on  the  Lorette  plateau  considerably  to  the  west  of  its  tallest  spur, 
where  was  situated  the  Chapel  of  Our  Lady ;  running  out  to  the 
prow  of  the  salient,  it  took  in  Albain;  and  then  proceeded  to 
Carency ;  bending  closely,  it  ran  east  of  the  Bois  de  Berthonval, 
taking  in  La  Targette  and  the  Arras-Bethune  highway.  That 
part  of  the  German  line  was  called  by  the  French  the  "White 
Works,"  on  account  of  the  chalk  with  which  the  breastworks  were 
constructed.  To  the  southeast  of  it  was  a  section  known  as  the 
Labyrinth.  Ecurie  was  inside  the  line  which  finally  ran  back  east 
of  Arras.  The  salient  was  constructed  for  the  guarding  of  Lens, 
which  was  considered  the  entrance  to  the  upper  valley  of  the 
Scheldt  and  the  lowlands  in  the  direction  of  Douai  and  Valen- 
ciennes. Of  more  importance  than  Lens  itself  was  the  railroad 
back  of  this  front,  the  capture  of  which  would  naturally  be  a 
source  of  great  danger  to  the  Germans. 

The  French  had  won  some  ground  in  the  region  of  the  Lorette 
plateau  early  in  1915.  The  Tenth  Army  in  the  Artois  received 
enough  additional  men  to  give  it  seven  corps.  More  than  1,100 
pieces  of  artillery,  of  varying  caliber,  were  taken  to  this  region 
by  the  French.  The  entire  preparation  for  the  campaign  was 
under  the  personal  direction  of  General  Foch.  In  the  meantime 
the  Germans,  becoming  aware  that  their  enemy  was  becoming 
more  and  more  active,  proceeded  to  strengthen  the  front  by  the 
addition  of  three  divisions  which  were  known  as  "divisions  of 
assault."  The  men  composing  these  additions  were  from  Bavaria, 
Saxony,  and  Baden.  Even  this  reenforcement  left  the  Teutons 
outnumbered,  and  with  less  artillery  than  their  opponents;  but 
they  held  a  position  which  was  considered  more  impregnable  than 
any  other  on  either  front.  The  Germans  here  had  a  chain  of 
forts  linked  together  by  an  elaborate  series  of  trenches,  these 
latter  so  arranged  that  the  taking  of  one  of  the  series  placed  its 
captors  within  the  zone  of  fire  of  several  others.  Moreover  there 
was  an  elaborate  series  of  underground  works,  including  mines 
and  wolf  pits,  the  latter  being  covered  over  with  a  thin  layer  of 


turf  and  thickly  studded  with  stakes  whose  points  awaited  the 
charging  French. 

General  Foch  was  ready  on  Sunday  morning,  May  9,  1915, 
and  his  artillery  began  one  of  the  heaviest  bombardments 
in  history.  The  1,100  French  cannon  hurled  300,000  shells 
on  the  German  fortifications  that  day.  The  reverberations 
were  deafening  and  terrifying.  They  startled  the  British  en- 
gaged at  the  Aubers  Ridge.  The  deluge  of  projectiles  crashed 
their  way  through  the  supposedly  impregnable  work  of  engineer- 
ing that  the  Germans  had  erected,  and  buried  their  mangled  de- 
fenders in  chaotic  ruins.  The  preliminary  work  of  the  artillery 
was  continued  for  three  hours,  accompanied  by  the  plaudits  of 
the  French  infantrymen.  Then  the  infantry  were  sent  to  take 
the  wrecks  of  what  had  been  the  pride  of  the  German  engineers. 
They  took  what  was  still  in  existence  at  La  Targette,  and  the  im- 
portant crossroads  there.  They  waged  a  fierce  fight  in  and  around 
the  village  of  Neuville  St.  Vaast,  which  was  stoutly  defended  by 
German  machine  guns.  Here  there  was  house-to-house  fighting. 
The  French  center,  farther  north,  charged  over  the  remnants  of 
the  White  Works,  and  went  on  beyond  the  Arras-Bethune  road. 
This  section  of  the  advance  took  more  than  two  and  a  half  miles 
of  trenches  in  an  hour  and  a  half.  On  the  left  the  French  were 
unable  to  maintain  such  speed,  because  of  the  many  ravines. 
They  took  the  outlying  sections  of  Carency,  and  worked  their  way 
eastward,  cutting  the  road  to  Souchez.  At  the  end  of  the  first 
lay  the  French  had  to  their  credit  three  lines  of  German  trenches 
m  a  five-mile  front,  3,000  prisoners,  10  field  guns,  and  50  machine 

The  bombardment  was  continued  all  night  by  the  French  gun- 

lers,  while  the  men  who  had  taken  the  trenches  did  their  best  to 

lake  such  repairs  as  were  necessary  for  the  protection  of  the 

ictors.    On  the  morning  of  the  following  day.  May  10, 1915,  the 

joldiers  of  the  republic  had  forced  their  way  into  the  center  of  the 

German  position.    North  of  the  plateau  of  Notre  Dame  de  Lorette 

feint  attack  was  made  to  hold  the  German  reserves.    When 

le  first  French  line  was  about  to  dash  forward  to  complete  their 

^ork  of  the  day  before,  they  suddenly  received  an  order  to  re* 

124  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

main  where  they  were  and  seek  all  cover  possible.  One  of  the 
French  aviators  had  seen  a  German  counterattack  getting  under 
way  near  the  sugar  factory  at  Souchez.  Preparatory  to  the 
Teuton  advance  the  German  artillery  hurled  hundreds  of  high- 
explosive  shells  on  the  section  where  the  French  would  have  been 
had  they  not  received  the  order  to  keep  under  cover.  To  be  ex- 
posed under  such  conditions  would  have  meant  annihilation.  Be- 
lieving their  plans  for  the  counterattack  were  working  favorably, 
the  Germans  advanced,  only  to  be  mowed  down  by  the  French 
guns.  Then  the  French  infantry  charged  and  gained  another 
trench  line.  So  eager  were  the  younger  French  soldiers  that 
some  of  those  who  charged  from  the  south  were  not  content 
with  taking  the  trench  which  was  their  objective  point,  but 
dashed  on  into  a  ravine  that  extended  in  the  direction  of  Ablain. 
There  they  killed  or  made  prisoners  of  the  Germans  they  found. 
This  dash  was  extremely  hazardous  in  the  face  of  a  possible 
German  counterattack,  which  luckily  for  the  French  did  not 
occur  as  the  Teutons  retired  to  Souchez  in  confusion  and  were 
unable  to  rally  for  any  counterattack.  A  summary  of  the  day's 
fighting  includes  the  taking  of  all  of  the  German  trenches  across 
the  Bethune-Loos  road;  the  attack  on  the  fortified  chapel  of 
Notre  Dame  de  Lorette,  and  the  gaining  of  the  trenches  to  the 
south  of  it,  these  connecting  with  Ablain  and  Souchez ;  the  cap- 
ture of  the  cemetery  of  Neuville  St.  Vaast ;  and  the  defeat  of  the 
German  reserves  who  were  rushed  in  motor  cars  from  Lens 
and  Douai.  The  trenches  and  approaches  being  too  narrow  and 
deep  to  allow  freedom  of  action  in  using  rifle  and  bayonet,  the 
rifle  is  generally  slung  on  the  man's  back  in  bandolier,  and  the 
fighting  within  the  trenches  is  done  with  short  weapons,  espe- 
cially with  hand  grenades,  hence  the  new  military  expressions 
**bombing"  and  "bombing  parties,"  as  the  squads  are  called  that 
are  especially  detailed  for  bomb  work  during  the  charges. 

The  fighting  continued  fiercely  throughout  May  11, 1915.  Late 
in  the  day  the  French  took  the  lower  part  of  the  Arabs'  Spur.  An 
unsuccessful  counterattack  was  made  that  night  from  the  Spur  of 
the  White  Way.  But  the  French  were  harried  by  the  artillery  in 
Angres  and  the  machine  guns  in  Ablain,  and  their  discomforts 


were  added  to  by  the  work  of  the  bursting  shells  which 
opened  the  graves  of  soldiers  who  had  been  slain  in  previous 

Carency,  surrounded  on  the  east,  south  and  west,  and  wrecked 
by  the  20,000  shells  which  had  been  fired  upon  it,  surrendered  on 
the  afternoon  of  May  12,  1915.  The  Germans  captured  there 
made  a  total  of  more  than  5,000  prisoners  taken  by  the  French. 
Notre  Dame  de  Lorette  with  its  chapel  and  fort  was  also 
taken  this  same  day,  as  was  Ablain  which  was  in  flames  when 
it  was  surrendered.  Thus  all  of  the  highland  to  the  west  of 
Souchez  was  held  by  the  French  except  a  few  fortins  on  eastern 

A  north  wind  and  a  heavy  rain  added  to  the  discomforts  of 
the  soldiers  on  May  13,  1915.  But  physical  discomforts  were 
not  all  that  made  for  more  or  less  unhappiness.  The  Germans 
had  little  reason  to  be  happy ;  but  the  French  had  the  edge  taken 
from  their  elation,  because  of  their  victory,  by  the  fact  that  it 
seemed  as  if  it  must  be  won  again  before  it  would  be  of  use  to 
them.  According  to  the  rules  of  the  war  game  the  German  line 
had  been  broken  and  the  French  had  made  for  themselves  a  right 
of  way;  but  there  were  many  instances  in  this  war  where  the 
rules  were  not  followed ;  and  this  was  one  of  the  exceptions.  It 
is  true  the  German  line  had  been  smashed,  but  it  had  not  fallen 
back.  Instead  the  remnants  of  the  line  had  collected  themselves 
in  the  series  of  independent  redoubts  which  had  seemingly  been 
prepared  for  just  such  an  emergency.  They  were  so  situated 
that  it  was  well-nigh  impossible  to  destroy  them  at  long  range; 
>ut  it  was  impossible  to  make  any  forward  movement  which 
'•ould  not  be  enfiladed  by  them.  Hence  it  became  necessary  for 
the  French,  if  they  were  to  be  really  victorious,  to  reduce  each 
separate  redoubt.  The  most  prominent  of  these  were  the  sugar 
factory  at  Souchez,  the  cemetery  at  Ablain,  the  White  Road  on 
spur  of  the  Lorette,  the  eastern  portion  of  Neuville  St.  Vaast, 
id  the  Labyrinth.  The  last  named  was  so  called  because  it 
was  an  elaborate  system  ot  trenches  and  redoubts  in  an  angle 
between  two  roads.  The  White  Road  surrendered  on  May  21, 
1915.    Ablain  was  taken  on  May  29,  1915.    The  Souchez  sugar 





factory  fell  on  May  31,  1915.  Neuville  St.  Vaast  was  cap- 
tured on  June  8, 1915.  The  Labyrinth,  however,  remained  under 
German  control.  Part  of  it  was  fifty  feet  below  the  surface 
of  the  earth,  much  of  the  fighting  there  being  carried  on  in  un- 
derground galleries  and  by  means  of  mines.  It  finally  was 
entirely  in  the  hands  of  the  French  on  June  19,  1915,  after  being 
taken  to  a  considerable  extent  foot  by  foot.  The  last  of  the 
fighting  there  was  in  what  was  known  as  the  Eulenburg  Pas- 
sage, where  the  entire  161st  German  Regiment,  consisting  of 
4,000  men,  were  slain  and  a  Bavarian  regiment  suffered  a 
heavy  loss  in  killed  and  wounded.  The  French  took  1,000 
prisoners;  and  only  2,000  of  their  own  men  were  unable  to 
answer  roll  call  after  the  fight,  of  whom  many  were  only  slightly 

In  concluding  the  account  of  the  battle  of  the  Artois  it  may 
be  admitted  that  the  French  had  won  what  has  been  called  a 
brilliant  victory,  but  it  had  not  been  a  complete  success.    They 
had  made  an  end  of  the  German  salient ;  and  only  the  last  defense 
of  Lens  remained.    How  much  they  had  reduced  the  pressure  on 
Russia  is  problematical;  but  there  is  little  doubt  they  had  pre- 
vented the  Germans  from  continuing  the  offensive  on  the  Ypres 
front.     They  estimated  the  German  loss  at  60,000;  and,  by  a 
peculiar  coincidence,  the  Crown  Prince  of  Bavaria,  whose  armies 
they  fought,  estimated  the  French  loss  at  the  same  figure — 
60,000.    It  is  known  they  lost  many  men  in  the  hand-to-hand 
struggles;  but  their  great  forward  movement  was  so  well  pro- 
tected by  their  artillery  that  the  French  loss  there  was  com- 
paratively slight.    Some  idea  can  be  gained  from  the  fact  that 
[one  French  division  killed  2,600  of  their  enemy  and  captured 
8,000  prisoners  with  a  loss  of  only  250  slain  and  1,250  wounded. 
[But  the  greatest  gain  to  the  French  was  probably  the  fact  that 
[the  battle  of  the  Artois  had  proved  to  the  soldiers  of  the  republic 
[that  their  artillery  was  the  equal  of  the  German,  which  had 
ibeen  the  arm  in  which  the  Teutons  excelled.    It  also  proved  that 
the  Germans  could  not  intrench  themselves  in  any  manner  that 
[was  impregnable  to  the  French;  for  they  had  taken  the  Laby- 
jrinth,  a  most  complicated  series  of  military  engineering  feats 

9— War  St.  3 

128  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

which  were  supposed  to  be  able  to  withstand  any  assault.  And 
lastly,  and  perhaps  of  most  importance  to  the  French,  the  belief 
in  the  superiority  of  the  German  soldier,  as  a  result  of  1870- 
was  shattered  in  the  mind  of  the  Frenchman. 



TO  aid  the  French  in  the  Artois,  the  British  made  a  forward 
movement  in  the  Festubert  region  in  May,  1915.  Its  purpose 
was  to  prevent  the  Seventh  German  Corps  from  sending  troops 
and  artillery  to  reenforce  Lens.  Moreover  the  British,  if  they 
succeeded,  would  take  the  Aubers  ridge,  which  they  had  tried  to 
gain  in  the  battle  of  Neuve  Chapelle.  If  they  could  capture  the 
Aubers  ridge,  the  way  would  be  opened  to  Lille  and  La  Bassee. 
The  action  began  on  Sunday  morning.  May  9, 1915,  in  the  region 
between  Bois  Grenier  and  Festubert,  and  was  a  part  of  the  for- 
ward movement  of  the  British  from  Armentieres  to  La  Bassee. 
Part  of  the  First  Corps  and  the  Indian  Corps  marched  forward 
on  the  right  from  the  Rue  du  Bois  toward  the  southern  part  of 
the  Bois  du  Biez,  where  there  had  been  much  fighting  before. 
The  principal  attack  was  made  by  the  Eighth  Division  on  Rouges 
Bancs,  not  far  from  Fromelles  and  the  Aubers  ridge,  near  where 
the  British  had  been  stopped  in  the  battle  of  Neuve  Chapelle. 
At  approximately  the  same  time  that  General  Sir  Douglas  Haig 
with  the  British  First  Army  reached  the  slightly  elevated  plateau 
in  front  of  Lille,  General  Foch  with  a  large  body  of  French 
troops  made  a  desperate  attack  on  the  Germans  on  their  front 
from  La  Bassee  to  Arras.  The  French  and  British  had  joined 
their  efforts  here,  not  only  to  relieve  the  pressure  which  was 
being  exerted  on  Ypres  and  to  take  Lille,  which  dominated  a 
region  rich  in  coal,  but  also  for  the  purpose  of  keeping  the  Ger- 
mans so  busy  on  the  western  front  that  none  could  be  sent  to  the 


eastern  front  and  further  embarrass  Russia.  The  artillery  of  both 
the  British  and  French  attempted  to  wreck  the  German  trenches 
before  their  infantry  should  be  sent  against  their  foe.  In  this 
effort  the  British,  using  principally  shrapnel,  made  little  head- 
way; but  their  ally,  using  high-explosive  shells,  such  as  they 
had  been  hurEng  at  the  Germans  for  weeks  at  the  rate  of  a 
hundred  thousand  a  day,  was  successful.  Soon  the  Teutons' 
front  was  screened  by  clouds  of  yellow,  green,  black  and  white 
smoke.  But  this  was  not  to  be  a  one-sided  artillery  engagement, 
and  the  Germans  soon  had  their  artillery  in  action.  They  trained 
it  on  their  enemies'  trenches,  believing  from  the  size  of  the 
bombardment  that  an  assault  was  soon  to  be  made  and  that  the 
trenches  would  be  filled  with  troops.  Their  surmise  was  correct, 
but  the  Allies  had  suspected  their  opponents  would  reason  thus, 
so  the  French  and  British  infantry  were  in  covered  positions. 
Of  course  the  Germans  did  not  know  how  well  their  opponents 
were  protected,  so  they  sent  thousands  of  shells  against  the 
allied  positions.  And  again  the  allied  artillerists  replied  in 
kind.  This  time  they  caught  the  German  reenforcements,  with 
the  result  that  many  of  them  were  slain  before  they  could  reach 
their  own  front.  In  this  work  the  British  shrapnel  was  more 
effective  than  the  French  high-explosive  shells. 

The  bombardment  was  continued  vigorously  for  three-quarters 
of  an  hour.  That  the  allied  range  finders  had  been  doing  ac- 
curate work  was  evidenced  by  the  appearance  of  the  German 
trenches  when  the  British  and  French  fire  was  turned  against 
the  supporting  German  trenches ;  but  the  Teutons'  wire  entangle- 
ments remained  intact.  Heretofore  the  big  guns  had  been  able 
to  sweep  such  obstructions  away.  When  the  infantry  reached 
the  barbed  wire,  it  found  the  Germans  had  improved  this  partic- 
ular method  of  defense  by  using  specially  manufactured  wire 
cable,  well  barbed,  which  was  from  one  and  one-half  to  two 
inches  in  diameter.  And,  to  protect  their  cable  entanglements,  the 
Germans  had  built  parapets  in  front  of  the  entanglements.  Their 
enemy's  charging  infantry  coming  upon  such  an  obstruction 
could  not  cut  it,  and  the  only  means  of  circumventing  this  new 
device  was  for  the  attacking  force  to  throw  their  overcoats  on 

130  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  entanglements  and  crawl  across  the  wire  in  the  face  of 
rifle  and  machine-gun  Are. 

For  a  considerable  distance  along  this  part  of  the  front  the 
distance  between  the  German  and  British  trenches  was  not  more 
than  two  hundred  yards.  At  not  a  few  sections  the  opposing 
trenches  were  near  enough  to  permit  the  soldiers  to  converse 
with  their  opponents.  The  trenches  for  the  most  part  were  built 
on  the  marshland  with  sandbags,  those  of  the  British  being 
khaki-colored,  and  the  German  being  black  and  white.  When  the 
inevitable  order  to  charge  was  given,  the  British  artillery  shifted 
its  range  to  the  German  rear  and  the  Eighth  Division  dashed 
over  the  black  and  white  sandbags  behind  which  the  Germans 
were  crouching.  Beyond  them  was  a  ridge,  in  horseshoe  for- 
mation, which  was  the  last  barrier  that  lay  between  the  Allies 
and  the  plains  that  led  to  Lille.  This  ridge  trails  off  in  a  north- 
easterly direction  at  Rouges  Bancs.  Near  the  hamlet  there  was 
a  small  wood  which  had  been  taken  by  the  Pathans  and  Gurkhas 
before  the  cannonade  started.  Among  the  regiments  that  led  the 
attack  of  the  Eighth  Division  were  the  Kensington  Battalion  of 
the  London  Regiment,  the  First  Gloucesters,  the  Second  Sussex, 
and  the  Northamptons.  They  were  supported  by  the  Liver- 
pool Territorials,  the  First  North  Lancashires,  the  Second 
King's  Royal  Rifles,  and  the  Sussex  Territorials.  The  Germans 
had  large  bodies  of  reenforcements  held  at  Lille,  but  they  were 
unavailing;  and  the  British  took  the  first  line  of  trenches  though 
it  required  fifteen  and  a  half  hours  to  do  it.  Then  they  went  on 
until  they  were  on  the  slope  of  the  ridge.  Beyond  that,  however, 
it  seemed  impossible  to  proceed,  for  the  Germans  had  such  an 
array  of  Aiachine  guns  trained  on  the  approach  to  their  second 
line  of  trenches  that  no  human  being  could  live  in  the  face  of 
their  deadly  fire.  The  British  needed  an  equipment  with  which 
to  bombard  their  enemy  with  high-explosive  shells.  Such  an 
equipment  they  did  not  possess. 

The  German  commander  played  a  clever  trick  on  the  British 
when  their  First  Army  Corps  and  their  Indian  Division 
attempted  to  make  progress  in  the  triangle  to  the  west  of  La 
Bassee.    He  evacuated  his  first  two  lines  of  trenches  while  the 


artillery  was  doing  what  it  could  to  demolish  his  parapets ;  but 
his  men  were  drawn  up  in  the  third  line  of  trenches  waiting  for 
the  inevitable  advance  of  the  British.  This  third  line  of  trenches 
was  protected  with  armor  plate  and  concrete.  Moreover  he  had 
planted  a  large  number  of  machine  guns  in  the  brickfield  near 
La  Bassee.  The  British  dashed  forward  until  they  were  in  range 
of  the  machine  guns.  Then  they  suffered  such  severe  losses  that 
they  were  forced  to  retreat,  even  though  they  had  almost  taken 
the  inviting  German  trenches.  The  Highlanders  and  the  Bed- 
fords  had  made  a  gallant  charge  and  felt  especially  humiliated 
to  have  to  withdraw  when  victory  was  about  to  perch  on  their 
banners.  They  believed  that  a  lack  of  reenforcements  was  re- 
sponsible for  their  nonsuccess. 

The  day's  fighting  ended  with  the  First  Army  of  the  British 
driven  back  except  in  the  center.  There  the  Kensington  Terri- 
torial Battalion  made  a  remarkable  record  for  itself.  In  the 
morning  when  the  British  artillery  ceased  firing,  the  Kensington 
men  dashed  from  their  trenches  and  captured  three  lines  of  the 
German  trenches  at  the  point  of  the  bayonet.  A  part  of  the  bat- 
taUon,  in  its  eagerness  to  win  the  day,  went  on  up  the  ridge.  At 
the  same  time  one  of  its  companies  turned  to  the  left  and  another 
to  the  right,  and  with  bayonet  and  bomb  drove  the  Germans 
from  the  trenches  for  a  distance  of  200  yards.  The  Kensingtons 
were  doing  the  work  that  had  been  set  for  them  to  do ;  but  two 
regular  battalions,  one  to  their  left  and  the  other  to  their  right, 
were  not  as  able  to  comply  with  the  orders  they  had  received.  The 
regulars  were  stopped  by  wire  entanglements  that  the  artillery 
had  failed  to  smash,  and,  at  the  same  time,  they  were  raked  by 
machine-gun  fire.  Hence  they  were  unable  to  keep  up  with  the 
Territorials.  In  fact  the  regulars  never  got  up  to  the  Kensington 
men;  but  were  forced  to  retire.  This  left  the  Territorials  in  a 
most  precarious  condition.  They  had  gained  such  an  important 
point  on  the  German  line  that  a  heavy  fire  was  directed  against 
them.  But  the  British  would  not  give  up  what  they  had  taken. 
Instead  of  retiring,  they  sent  for  reenforcements  which  were 
promised  to  them.  In  the  meantime  the  Germans  gave  up  trying 
to  blow  the  Kensingtons  out  of  their  position  and  made  a  counter- 

1S2  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

attack.  The  left  wing  of  the  plucky  Territorial  battalion  used 
bombs  effectively  to  hold  their  enemy  at  bay.  The  right  wing  at 
the  same  time  was  kept  busy  in  its  attempt  to  prevent  being  en- 
veloped. In  spite  of  all  the  Germans  could  do  with  their  artillery 
and  their  repeated  counterattacks  the  West  London  men  main- 
tained their  small  wedge  in  the  Teuton  front.  Finally  trench 
mortars  were  brought  against  them.  Then  the  Kensington  bat- 
talion, or  what  was  left  of  it,  received  the  order  to  retire.  To  do 
that  necessitated  fighting  their  way  back  through  the  thickening 
line  of  their  enemy.  Those  British  Territorials  had  held  their 
peculiar  position  several  hours,  and  had  suffered  severely  in  con- 
sequence ;  but  their  loss  was  undoubtedly  much  larger  when  re- 
tiring to  their  former  line.  They  fought  the  greater  part  of  the 
afternoon  and  well  into  the  evening  in  endeavoring  to  get  back ; 
and  finally  a  comparatively  few  of  them  succeeded.  The  last  dash 
to  the  British  trenches  was  made  over  a  barren  piece  of  ground 
which  was  so  flat  that  there  was  no  opportunity  for  concealment. 
And  here  the  Germans  raked  what  was  left  of  the  battalion  with 
rifle  and  machine-gun  fire.  Ultimately,  however,  a  portion  of 
the  brave  band  returned  to  the  British  trenches.  Previous  to 
withdrawing  the  survivors  from  the  front,  General  Sir  Henry 
Rawlinson  told  them  that  their  gaining  the  position  which  they 
took  and  holding  it  as  long  as  they  did  had  not  only  relieved  the 
pressure  on  Ypres  but  had  aided  General  Foch's  army  to  advance 
between  Arras  and  La  Bassee.  In  conclusion  he  said :  "It  was  a 
feat  of  arms  surpassed  by  no  battalion  in  this  great  war." 

The  Sussex  and  Northampton  troops  made  a  desperate  effort 
to  get  into  the  German  trenches  on  the  morning  in  which  this 
action  start;ed,  but  they  never  got  nearer  than  forty  yards,  being 
stopped  by  the  deluge  of  shrapnel,  rifle,  and  machine-gun  fire  to 
which  they  were  subjected.  When  they  were  ordered  to  return 
to  the  British  trenches,  those  who  remained  able  to  make  the  at- 
tempt found  it  quite  as  dangerous  as  trying  to  go  forward.  That 
afternoon  the  Black  Watch  and  the  First  Cameronians  charged 
where  the  Sussex  and  Northamptons  had  been  repulsed,  but  the 
Scotchmen  had  but  little  more  success.  It  is  true  some  of  the  men 
from  the  land  of  the  heather  got  into  the  German  trenches ;  but 


they  did  not  survive.  The  determination  of  the  British  was  shown 
when  men,  who  had  been  wounded  in  the  first  charge  and  been 
unable  to  return  to  their  own  line,  joined  the  Scots  in  their  mad 
rush  to  death.  Those  men  had  lain  under  fire  twelve  hours  be- 
fore making  their  dying  assault  on  the  German  trenches.  It  had 
been  expected  the  Scotchmen  would  get  into  the  opposing  trenches 
and  bomb  and  bayonet  the  Teutons  out.  Then  reenforcements 
would  be  sent  from  the  British  line.  But  the  artillery  of  King 
George  was  unable  to  check  the  devastating  work  of  the  kaiser's 
big  guns  and  give  the  reenforcements  a  clear  field  through  which 
to  go  to  the  aid  of  the  attacking  force.  The  result  was  that  the 
Germans  continued  such  a  leaden  hail  between  the  lines  that  it 
was  sending  soldiers  to  certain  death  to  order  them  to  cross  the 
zone  of  fire.  The  remnant  of  the  Scottish  regiments  was  recalled, 
and  it  lost  as  many  men  on  its  return  as  it  had  in  its  desperate 
struggle  to  reach  the  German  trenches. 

Both  the  Kensingtons  and  the  Scots  found  groups  of  German 
machine  guns,  doing  most  destructive  work,  that  could  have  been 
rendered  useless  if  the  British  had  had  a  supply  of  high-explosive 
shells.  Under  the  circumstances  there  was  nothing  for  Sir  Douglas 
Haig  to  do  but  to  order  his  men  all  along  the  line  to  retire. 
They  obeyed  the  order  sullenly,  and  many  of  them  were  slain  in 
their  attempt  to  get  back  to  their  own  trenches.  But  their  com- 
rades felt  they  had  not  died  wholly  in  vain ;  for  the  woeful  lack 
of  lyddite  shells  thus  became  known  in  England  and  the  indigna- 
tion thus  aroused  resulted  in  the  appointment  of  a  minister  of 
munitions  who  organized  the  manufacture  of  the  necessary  ex- 
plosives on  a  scale  heretofore  unattempted  by  the  British.  A 
lesson  had  been  learned,  but  at  a  fearful  cost  to  life. 

The  same  lesson  was  being  taught  the  British  public  at  an- 
other section  of  the  battle  front.  Its  soldiers  not  only  were  unable 
to  maintain  a  successful  artillery  fire,  but  the  fact  became  so  im- 
pressed on  the  German  mind  that  the  Teutons  in  the  Ypres  and 
Lille  regions  felt  assured  that  their  infantry  had  the  British  at 
their  mercy.  Sir  John  French,  however,  had  a  clever  knowledge 
of  human  nature.  He  began  his  efforts  to  remedy  the  difficulty 
by  telling  the  war  correspondents  his  troubles.     They  spread 

134  THE    STORY   OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  news.  Then  he  secretly  collected  all  of  the  available  artillery 
in  the  Ypres  region,  together  with  his  limited  supply  of  shells,  and 
was  ready  to  deal  such  a  blow  to  the  Duke  of  Wurttemberg's 
army  when  it  marched  on  Ypres  the  latter  part  of  May,  1915, 
that  it  was  necessary  for  the  Germans  to  get  reenf orcements 
through  Belgium.  This  was  a  great  surprise  to  the  Teutons  and 
cost  them  dearly. 


SIR     JOHN      FRENCH      ATTEMPTS     A 

THE  operation  of  this  plan  of  Sir  John  French  had  an  excellent 
effect  in  the  Ypres  region,  but  it  had  the  opposite  effect  on  the 
British  who  were  trying  to  take  Lille.  Moreover  it  was  necessary 
for  the  British  to  continue  to  occupy  the  attention  of  the  left 
wing  of  the  German  army,  under  the  command  of  the  Crown 
Prince  of  Bavaria,  in  order  to  keep  him  from  using  his  men 
against  General  Foch,  who  was  attempting  to  push  his  way  be- 
tween Arras  and  Lille.  Inasmuch  as  the  British  artillery  had 
proved  ineffective  because  of  its  lack  of  enough  and  the  proper 
kind  of  ammunition.  Sir  John  French  planned  another  surprise 
for  the  Germans.  This  time  he  selected  the  weapon  which  the 
Teutons  seemed  most  to  fear  when  it  was  in  the  hands  of  the 
British — ^the  bayonet.  The  salient  on  the  German  front  at  Festu- 
bert,  between  La  Bassee  and  Neuve  Chapelle,  was  chosen  for  the 
proposed  military  feat.  The  territory  occupied  by  the  Teutons 
had  the  appearance,  to  the  casual  observer,  of  being  lowlands 
on  which  were  wrecked  homes,  farms,  and  trees.  The  actual  con- 
ditions of  this  section  of  the  country  were  much  more  serious  for 
any  body  of  troops  which  planned  to  make  an  attack.  The  ground 
was  moist  and  muddy,  in  many  places  being  crossed  by  treach- 
erous ditches  filled  with  slimy  water.  Moreover  the  exact  range 
of  practically  every  square  foot  of  it  was  known  to  the  German 
artillerymen,  whose  guns  were  on  the  high  ground  to  the  west  of 


the  lowlands.  The  British  were  in  trenches  from  seventy  to  three 
hundred  yards  from  those  of  their  enemy.  If  the  men  there  could 
dash  across  the  intervening  space  and  get  into  the  German 
trenches  before  being  annihilated  by  the  kaiser's  cannon,  they 
would  use  the  bayonet  with  deadly  effect,  and,  from  past  ex- 
periences, have  reasonable  hope  of  gaining  a  victory.  It  was  de- 
cided to  make  such  an  attempt  first  on  that  part  of  the  line  be- 
tween Richebourg  on  the  left  and  Festubert  on  the  right. 

The  British  Seventh  Division  was  sent  south  to  support  the  at- 
tack which  was  to  have  been  made  on  May  12,  1915.  On  that  day 
it  was  too  foggy  for  the  aviators  to  see  with  any  degree  of  ac 
curacy;  so  the  movement  was  delayed.  This  gave  time  for  the 
Canadian  Division  to  be  sent  south  and  add  their  strength  to  the 
support.  The  German  trenches,  at  this  point  where  the  attack 
was  to  be  made,  were  occupied  by  the  Seventh  Westphalian  Army 
Corps.  This  corps  had  lost  many  of  its  men  at  Neuve  Chapelle ; 
and  their  places  had  been  taken  by  youths  who  had  not  reached 
the  development  of  manhood  and  whose  immaturity  and  lack  of 
military  training  greatly  lessened  the  efficiency  of  this  famous 
body  of  troops. 

Finally,  on  Saturday  night.  May  15,  1915,  all  conditions  for  the 
attack  seemed  favorable  to  the  British.   There  was  no  moon  and 
the  sky  was  dark,  though  there  was  not  that  inky  blackness  that 
occasionally  occurs  under  similar  weather  conditions.  The  Indian 
Corps  stole  from  their  trenches  and  began  to  go  forward  from 
Richebourg  TAvoue.    But  the  Germans  were  alert,  and  they  il- 
lumined the  movement  with  innumerable  flares  which  made  the 
Indians  easy  targets  for  the  machine  guns  and  rifles  of  the  Teutons 
that  part  of  the  line.  So  quick  was  the  work  to  repel  the  attack 
lat  many  of  the  Indians  were  slain  as  they  were  climbing  out  of 
leir  own  trenches.    As  a  surprise  attack  at  night,  the  British 
rere  not  making  much  of  a  success  of  their  plan,  but  as  a  method 
»f  gaining  ground  and  keeping  their  enemy  busy  on  that  particu- 
ir  part  of  the  line  the  men  of  their  Second  Division  were  effec- 
ive.    They  dashed  into  the  first  line  of  German  trenches  and 
leared  them  out  with  the  bayonet  and  hand  grenade.   The  furor 
)f  the  attack  took  them  on  into  the  second  line.    By  dawn  the 

136  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

soldiers  of  the  Second  Division  had  driven  a  wedge  into  the 
German  line. 

This  wedge  was  widened  and  driven  in  harder  by  Sir  Douglas 
Haig's  old  command^ — ^the  First  Corps.  This  corps  had  suffered 
heavy  losses  at  the  first  battle  of  Ypres ;  but  the  men  who  filled 
the  gaps  in  the  line  were  hardy  young  men  who  made  excellent 
soldiers  from  the  start.  Added  to  their  enthusiasm  was  a  desire 
to  show  their  ability  as  fighters,  with  the  result  that  the  British 
right  wing  was  so  effective  that  it,  in  a  great  measure,  made  up 
for  the  failure  of  the  Indian  troops.  The  center  and  the  right, 
with  bomb  and  bayonet,  drove  the  Germans  from  the  trenches ; 
and  then  together  they  forced  their  way  into  the  Teutons*  posi- 
tion 600  yards  along  a  front  800  yards  in  length.  Early  the  next 
morning,  before  daylight  on  May  16,  1915,  the  British  Seventh 
Division  forced  its  way  into  the  German  salient  at  Festubert.  In 
the  meantime  the  Germans  were  making  hasty  preparations  for 
a  counterattack.  Sir  John  French's  plan,  however,  had  proved 
effective.  It  would  have  required  a  large  supply  of  high-explosive 
Shells  to  have  made  much  of  an  impression  on  the  excellent  de- 
fenses which  the  German  soldiers  had  constructed  on  this  part  of 
the  front.  The  British  had  no  such  supply  of  ammunition,  and, 
even  if  they  had  had  it,  it  is  doubtful  if  they  would  have  been  able 
to  demolish  the  formidable  wire  entanglements.  Yet  in  this  night 
attack  with  the  bayonet  the  British  troops  had  accomplished  all 
they  could  have  done  if  supplied  with  proper  ammunition.  In  the 
desperate  charge  which  they  made  no  wire  entanglement  could 
stop  the  British  soldiers.  They  threw  their  overcoats  or  blankets 
over  the  barbed  wire  and  then  climbed  across  the  obstruction. 
The  Seventh  Division  took  three  lines  of  trenches  in  this  manner, 
until  it  was  12,000  yards  back  of  the  original  line  of  its  enemy. 

There  were  now  two  wedges  driven  into  the  German  front,  and 
the  British  desired  to  join  them  and  make  what  might  be  termed 
a  countersalient,  or  a  salient  running  into  the  original  salient  of 
the  Germans.  But  the  space  between  the  two  horns  of  the  British 
force  was  a  network  of  trenches.  The  horns  might  prod  and  ir- 
ritate the  Teutons,  but  they  needed  artillery  again  to  rid  the  Ger- 
man breastworks  of  machine  guns  and  demolish  the  obstructions 

SIR    JOHN    FRENCH    ATTEMPTS   A    SURPRISE       137 

which  would  cost  too  many  lives  to  take  in  the  same  manner  in 
which  the  British  success  had  been  won  in  its  night  attack. 
Nevertheless  the  British  started  in  to  bomb  their  way  toward 
Festubert,  and  they  even  gained  forty  yards  in  this  hazardous  un- 
dertaking before  they  were  forced  to  stop.  If  they  had  seemed  to 
be  an  irresistible  force,  they  had  met  what  had  every  appearance 
of  being  an  immovable  body — and  there  was  a  limit  to  human 

By  May  17,  1915,  the  British  concluded  that  their  most  advisa- 
ble offensive  was  to  clear  the  space  between  their  two  wedges  by 
cutting  off  the  Germans  who  held  that  part  of  their  line.  To  do 
this  the  British  attempted  to  cut  off  the  German  communication 
to  the  north  from  La  Quinque  Rue ;  but,  by  that  time,  the  Teutons 
had  received  reenf orcements ;  and  they  rained  such  a  shower  of 
lead  on  the  attacking  force  that  the  attempt  had  to  be  abandoned; 
but  not  until  many  heroic  efforts  had  been  made  by  the  British 
ta  succeed  in  their  purpose. 

Many  Germans  were  made  prisoners  at  all  stages  of  the  fight- 
ing. The  British  bayonet  seemed  to  strike  them  with  terror,  and 
the  bombs  were  more  potent  in  scattering  them  than  were  the 
orders  of  their  commanders  to  repel  the  attacking  force.  Between 
Richebourg  TAvoue  and  Le  Quinque  Rue  is  the  farm  Cour  de 
TAvoue.  In  front  of  this  farm  the  remains  of  a  battalion  of 
Saxons  attempted  to  surrender.  They  had  arrived  on  the  line  as 
reenf  orcements  to  the  Westphalians,  and  had  been  fighting  val- 
iantly until  their  numbers  were  so  decreased  that  they  were  un- 
able to  hold  out  against  their  foes  longer.  Whether  their  com- 
manding officer  ordered  them  to  surrender  or  a  common  impulse 
dictated  their  action,  they  left  their  position  and  advanced  toward 
the  British.  Not  understanding  their  action,  the  attacking  force 
ired  upon  the  Saxons  who  were  sufficiently  numerous  to  give  the 
[impression  that  they  might  be  leading  a  counterattack.  There- 
upon the  Saxons  dropped  their  guns  and  the  firing  from  the  Brit- 
iish  side  ceased,  only  to  be  taken  up  on  the  German  side  by  the 
[Westphalians.  This  was  followed  by  an  attack  on  the  would-be 
[prisoners  by  the  German  artillery  until  every  soldier  in  the  sur- 
rendering party  was  slain.  This  action  horrified  the  British,  but 

138  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  Germans  considered  it  a  means  of  discipline  which  would 
have  a  salutary  effect  on  any  who  might  prefer  the  comforts  of 
a  prison  camp  to  dying  for  the  Fatherland. 

The  British  Seventh  Division  at  Festubert  continued  to  work 
south  along  the  German  trenches.  Its  bayonets  and  bombs  cleared 
the  way  before  it.  The  plan  was  for  them  to  continue  toward 
Rue  d'Ouvert,  Chapelle  St.  Roch,  and  Canteleux.  In  the  mean- 
time the  Second  Division,  on  the  left  of  the  Seventh  Division,  was 
to  fight  its  way  to  Rue  du  Marais  and  Violaines.  The  Indian  con- 
tingent had  received  orders  to  keep  in  touch  with  the  Third  Di- 
V^ision.  The  Fifty-first  Division  was  sent  to  Estaires  to  act  as  a 
support  to  the  First  Army.  By  the  night  of  May  17,  1915,  the 
British  held  all  of  the  first  line  of  German  trenches  from  the 
south  of  Festubert  to  Richebourg  TAvoue.  For  a  part  of  that  dis- 
tance the  second  and  third  lines  of  trenches  had  been  taken  and 
held;  and  still  farther  forward  the  British  possessed  many 
important  points.  Moreover  the  British  soldiers  were  so  in- 
spired with  their  success  that  they  desired  to  press  on  in  spite 
of  the  fact  that  the  nature  of  the  country  was  such  that  they  were 
wet  through  and  covered  with  mud.  It  was  not  all  enthusiasm, 
however.  Mingled  with  the  desire  for  victory  was  a  desire  for 
revenge.  The  British  on  this  part  of  the  line  were  enraged  by 
the  use  of  gas  at  Ypres  and  the  sinking  of  the  Lusitania. 

On  the  night  of  May  17,  1915,  the  Fourth  Cameron  High- 
landers, a  Territorial  battalion,  met  with  disaster.  The  men  com- 
posing this  unit  were  from  Inverness-shire,  Skye,  and  the  Outer 
Islands.  Many  of  them  had  been  gamekeepers  and  hence  were 
accustomed  to  outdoor  life  and  the  handling  of  guns,  all  of  which 
aided  them  in  saving  the  remnant  of  their  command.  They  had 
been  ordered  to  take  some  cottages,  occupied  by  German  soldiers 
as  a  makeshift  fortification.  The  Cameronians  on  the  way  to  the 
attack  fell  into  a  ditch  which  was  both  deep  and  wide.  It  was 
necessary  for  them  to  swim  to  get  across  the  ditch  in  some  places. 
In  the  meantime  Highlanders  were  being  slain  by  German  shells 
and  the  rifle  fire  that  the  men  in  the  cottages  rained  upon  the 
Scots.  One  company  was  annihilated.  Another  company  lost  its 
way.    The  rear  end  of  a  German  communicating  trench  was 


reached  by  a  third  company.  Long  before  midnight  this  company 
was  almost  without  ammunition.  Two  platoons  reenforced  it  at 
midnight;  but  the  reenforcements  had  no  machine  guns,  which 
would  have  given  at  least  temporary  relief.  Under  the  circum- 
stances the  only  thing  for  the  Territorials  to  do  was  to  retreat. 
The  Germans  made  that  quite  as  perilous  a  venture  as  the  ad- 
vance had  been.  Only  half  of  those  who  started  for  the  cottages 
returned.  Among  the  slain  was  the  commander,  and  twelve  other 
officers  were  also  killed. 

The  British,  in  spite  of  a  cold  rain,  pushed  on  1,200  yards  north 
of  the  Festubert-La  Quinque  Rue  road ;  and  took  a  defense  300 
yards  to  the  southeast  of  the  hamlet.  Two  farms  west  of  the 
road  and  south  of  Richebourg  rAvou§,  the  farm  du  Bois  and  the 
farm  of  the  Cour  de  TAvoue,  in  front  of  which  latter  the  sur- 
rendering Saxons  were  slain,  had  been  held  by  the  Germans 
with  numerous  machine  guns.  The  British  took  both  farms  by 
nightfall  and  found,  on  counting  their  prisoners,  that  they  then 
had  a  total  of  608  as  well  as  several  machine  guns. 

The  Second  and  Seventh  Divisions  were  withdrawn  by  Sir 
Douglas  Haig  on  the  following  day,  Wednesday,  May  19,  1915. 
The  Fifty-first  Division  and  the  Canadians  took  the  places  of  the 
men  who  w^ere  sadly  in  need  of  relief  from  active  duty.    Lieu- 
tenant General  Alderson  received  the  command  of  both  divisions 
together  with  the  artillery  of  both  the  Second  and  Seventh  Di- 
visions.   The  cold,  wet  weather  hampered  operations  and  there 
was  comparatively  little  activity,  though  hostilities  by  no  means 
altogether  ceased.    Each  side  needed  a  little  rest  and  time  to  fill 
jn  gaps  in  their  respective  lines.   Hence  it  was  not  until  Sunday, 
[ay  23,  that  any  fighting  on  a  large  scale  took  place.  On  that  day 
le  Seventh  Prussian  Army  Corps  made  a  desperate  effort  to 
)reak  through  that  part  of  the  British  line  held  by  the  Canadians 
lear  Festubert.    The  Prussians  used  their  old  tactics  with  the 
jult  that  the  British  shrapnel,   rifle,  and  machine-gun  fire 
>Iowed  great  holes  in  their  ranks.    The  Teutons  in  this  instance 
rere  without  adequate  artillery  support,  for  many  of  their  bat- 
jries  had  been  made  useless  by  the  British.    From  then  on  to 
[ay  25, 1915,  there  were  several  small  engagements  in  which  the 

140  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

British  made  gains.  Then  Sir  John  French  concluded  to  end  the 
activity  of  his  men  on  this  part  of  the  front.  In  that  connection 
he  made  the  following  statement:  "I  had  now  reasons  to  con- 
sjider  that  the  battle  which  was  commenced  by  the  First  Army  on 
May  9  and  renewed  on  the  16th,  having  attained  for  the  moment 
the  immediate  object  I  had  in  view,  should  not  be  further 
actively  proceeded  with. 

"In  the  battle  of  Festubert  the  enemy  was  driven  from  a  posi- 
tion which  was  strongly  intrenched  and  fortified,  and  ground 
was  won  on  a  front  of  four  miles  to  an  average  depth  of  600 


ATTACKS     AT     LA     B A S S  ift  E 

THE  British  had  discovered  the  futility  of  attempting  to  smash 
through  the  German  lines  without  an  adequate  supply  of 
high-explosive  shells  with  which  to  destroy  the  heavy  wire 
entanglements.  Moreover,  in  maintaining  a  curtain  of  fire  be- 
tween the  German  lines  and  potential  reenforcements,  it  was 
necessary  to  increase  the  artillery  arm  of  the  service.  At  this 
time  the  Germans  could  fire  four  shells  to  one  by  the  British.  An- 
other very  essential  equipment  in  which  the  British  were  lacking 
was  machine  guns.  The  German  army  had  developed  machine- 
gun  warfare  apparently  to  its  highest  power.  They  not  only 
used  it  to  increase  their  volume  of  fire,  but  also  as  a  means  of 
saving  their  infantry.  When,  for  any  reason,  it  was  found  ex- 
pedient to  move  infantry,  a  few  machine-gun  crews  would  take 
the  place  of  the  soldiers  with  the  rifle  and  maintain  a  fire  which 
would  be  almost  as  effective  in  checking  the  British  advance  as 
the  infantry  had  been.  The  British  had  no  such  number  of  ma- 
chine guns.  They  lacked  this  necessary  part  of  their  equipment 
just  as  they  lacked  shells,  cannon,  aircraft,  and  other  war  ma- 
terial which  the  Germans  had  developed  and  accumulated  in  large 
quantities  under  the  supervision  of  the  German  General  Staff. 

ATTACKS    AT    LA   BASSEE  141: 

The  German  munition  factories  had  been  making  and  storing 
enormous  supplies  for  an  army  of  several  millions  of  men.  On 
the  other  hand  the  British  had  believed  in  the  excellence  of  their 
comparatively  small  army  to  such  an  extent  that  it  required 
all  of  the  fighting  from  the  time  their  troops  landed  on  the 
Continent  up  to  Festubert  to  convince  them  that  they  must  make 
and  maintain  a  military  machine  at  least  equal,  if  not  superior, 
to  the  one  her  foes  possessed.  It  is  true  the  British  needed 
more  men  in  the  ranks,  but  what  was  needed  more  was 
large  additions  to  the  supply  of  machine  guns,  artillery^  and 

For  those  reasons  the  British  generals  avoided  clashes  with 
the  Germans  after  the  battle  of  Festubert,  except  when  it  was 
necessary  to  hold  as  many  of  the  Germans  as  possible  to  the 
British  part  of  the  western  front.  This  plan  was  maintained 
throughout  the  summer  of  1915.  In  the  meantime  the  Germans 
were  constructing,  beyond  their  trenches,  the  most  elaborate 
series  of  field  fortifications  in  the  history  of  warfare.  The  Ger- 
man staff  realized  that  the  time  was  coming  when  the  British 
would  again  take  the  offensive.  When  that  time  arrived  the 
Germans  would  thus  be  prepared  to  make  every  foot  of  ground 
gained  as  costly  as  possible  to  their  foes.  In  fact  they  had  reason 
for  believing  that  it  would  be  almost  impossible  for  their  oppo- 
nents to  gain  ground  where  it  was  held  by  such  seemingly  im- 
pregnable works. 

An  attack  at  La  Bassee  in  the  first  weeks  in  June,  1915,  started 
with  the  British  Second  Army  making  a  pretended  advance  in 
^the  Ypres  region.    The  British  in  the  forest  of  Ploegsteert  drove 

mine  into  the  German  lines  and  blew  it  up.  The  explosion  fol- 
>wed  by  a  British  charge,  which  resulted  in  the  taking  of  a  part 
)f  the  German  trenches.  This  forest  extended  northwest  of 
lille  and  south  of  Messines.   Under  the  ground  in  this  section  the 

ippers  had  built  a  city,  whose  streets  were  named  for  the 

loroughfare  of  London.  Thus  there  was  "Regent  Street," 
''Piccadilly  Circus,"  "Leicester  Square,"  and  many  others.  There 
^as  also  a  "Kensington  Garden,"  in  which  grew  wild  flowers 
transplanted  from  the  forest  by  the  soldiers. 

142  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

The  Germans  had  been  driven  out  of  the  forest  in  the  fall  of 
1914  when  they  made  their  dash  to  reach  Calais ;  but  their 
trenches  were  only  about  400  yards  beyond  the  eastern  edge. 
The  earth  here  was  especially  adaptable  for  mines,  and  both 
sides  made  many  attempts  to  work  destruction  by  tunneling  for- 
ward. In  this  activity  it  was  soon  found  necessary  to  Jiave  men 
in  advanced  positions  in  the  tunnels  to  listen  to  the  mining 
operations  of  their  opponents.  As  soon  as  such  operations  were 
discovered,  a  countertunnel  was  driven  in  that  direction  and  a 
mine  exploded,  thereby  destroying  the  enemy's  tunnel  and  burying 
his  sappers.  Sometimes,  however,  the  men  in  the  countertunnel 
cut  through  to  the  other  excavation  and  engaged  in  a  hand-to » 
hand  conflict  beneath  the  surface  of  the  earth.  Then  primitive 
methods  were  used.  Though  mining  had  taken  place  on  other 
sections  of  the  western  front,  as  at  Hill  60,  it  was  in  this  forest 
area  that  it  was  probably  brought  to  its  highest  development. 

The  British  mine  here,  as  noted  above,  on  June  6,  1915,  blew  up 
the  German  trenches,  and  the  British  charged  into  the  crater  and 
drove  the  Germans  out  with  bayonet  and  bomb.  A  similar  crater 
was  the  result  of  the  mining  at  La  Bassee.  Five  mines  at  the 
end  of  tunnels  constructed  by  the  Germans  did  not  go  far  enough 
toward  the  British  trenches,  and  when  the  explosions  occurred 
the  trenches  remained  intact. 

The  sappers,  however,  had  other  things  to  contend  with ;  this 
was  the  case  when  a  tunnel  was  driven  toward  the  German 
trenches  between  Rue  du  Bois  and  Rue  d'Ouvert,  near  the  La 
Bassee  Canal.  Water  was  found  below  the  German  intrench- 
ments.  The  British  managed  to  keep  the  water  out  of  the  tunnel 
by  using  sandbags.  Then  they  planted  enough  dynamite  to 
blow  up  a  large  part  of  the  German  force.  The  two  trench  lines 
were  very  close  together  on  this  part  of  the  front ;  and,  to  prevent 
accidents,  the  British  left  their  trenches  near  the  mine  before  it 
was  fired. 

On  the  night  of  June  6,  1915,  the  mine  tore  open  the  trenches 
of  both  sides,  and  buried  one  of  the  British  magazines  which 
was  filled  with  hand  grenades  and  killed  several  British  bomb 
throwers.    At  about  the  same  moment  another  supply  of  British 

ATTACKS    AT    LA   BASSEE  143 

bombs  was  exploded  when  it  was  struck  by  a  shell  from  a  Ger- 
man howitzer.  This  occurred  at  a  place  on  the  line  called  Duck's 
Bill,  and  resulted  in  the  British  being  without  an  adequate  supply 
of  hand  grenades.  The  British  troops  in  this  action  were  the 
soldiers  of  a  British  division  and  a  Canadian  brigade.  The  latter 
included  the  First  Ontario  Regiment,  the  Second  and  Fourth 
Canadian  Battalions,  the  Third  Toronto  Regiment,  and  the  East 

The  Ontario  regiment  was  directed  against  a  fortified  part  of 
the  German  line  which  was  called  Stony  Mountain.  To  the  south 
of  Stony  Mountain,  about  150  yards,  was  another  fortified  posi- 
tion called  Dorchester.  This  also  was  to  be  taken  by  the  Ontario 
men.  If  they  succeeded  in  their  work  the  right  flank  of  the 
British  division  would  be  protected.  But  it  was  Stony  Mountain 
that  was  of  most  importance  to  the  British.  Its  machine  guns 
and  its  northern  defenses  menaced  the  route  which  the  British 
must  take  to  make  an  advance.  In  order  to  prevent  the  Germans 
from  giving  their  undivided  attention  to  the  Canadians,  the 
British  division  on  the  left  made  an  advance  against  the  Teutons 
north  of  Stony  Mountain.  The  British  artillery  had  been  shell- 
ing this  part  of  the  German  line  day  and  night  many  days  as  a 
preparation  for  this  advance.  Its  projectiles  crashed  into  the 
brick  fields  near  La  Bassee,  and  in  front  of  the  wrecked  village 
of  Quinchy. 

The  German  machine-gun  crews  were  hidden  behind  the  brick 
stacks  which  were  square  blocks  of  burned  clay  upon  which  the 
British  shells  burst  without  perceptible  effect.  The  shells  that 
went  over  the  stacks,  however,  did  much  damage.  Beyond  the 
brick  field  to  the  north  were  the  ruins  of  farm  buildings  which 
were  also  hiding  places  for  the  Germans  and  their  machine  guns. 
All  the  buildings  back  of  the  German  line  had  been  turned  into 
fortresses  whose  underground  works  were  concreted  and  con- 
nected with  their  headquarters  by  telephone.  While  the  British 
artillery  was  attempting  to  destroy  these  fortresses  it  was  also 
hurling  lyddite  shells  into  the  trenches. 

The  German  artillery  fire  greatly  exceeded  the  British  in 

volume.    Nevertheless  the  British  forces  were  in  the  more  com- 

10— War  St.  8 

144  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT    WAR 

fortable  position.  They  had  comparatively  little  to  do  except 
wait  until  they  were  needed,  which  would  be  when  their  artillery 
had  completed  the  preparation  for  the  inevitable  charge.  On  the 
other  hand  the  German  soldier  had  a  nerve-racking  part  to  play* 
He  knew  from  the  preparation  that  an  attack  in  force  was  about 
to  be  made ;  but  he  did  not  know  when  it  would  occur  nor  where. 
Hence  it  was  necessary  for  him  to  be  constantly  on  the  alert. 
Many  of  the  Germans  were  under  arms  at  all  hours  of  the  day  and 
night.  In  fact  few  of  them  on  that  part  of  their  line  got  any  reaJ 
rest  during  the  week  in  which  the  bombardment  continued.  The 
section  between  the  two  lines  of  trenches  was  illuminated  at  night, 
and  the  cannonade  kept  up  so  that  there  was  no  opportunity 
for  the  Germans  to  repair  the  havoc  made  by  the  British  shells. 

The  suspense  was  terminated  on  the  evening  of  June  15,  1915, 
by  an  additional  flight  of  projectiles  from  the  British  guns. 
Every  piece  of  British  ordnance  on  that  part  of  the  line  was 
worked  at  top  speed.  The  Germans,  knowing  that  this  immedi- 
ately preceded  an  infantry  charge,  used  their  artillery  to  stop  it. 
But  the  British  charge  formed  in  their  trenches,  with  the  Cana- 
dians on  their  right.  In  addition  to  the  shrapnel  the  Germans 
made  breaks  in  the  lines  of  their  foes  by  the  use  of  machine  guns, 
but  the  breaks  were  quickly  filled.  On  some  parts  of  the  front 
the  British  and  Canadians  were  successful  and  reached  the 
trenches.  In  all  the  captured  trenches  extended  from  Rue  du 
Bois  to  Rue  d'Ouvert. 

In  the  meantime  those  Canadians  who  had  been  directed 
against  Stony  Mountain  and  Dorchester  were  doing  heroic  work. 
The  First  Company  of  the  Ontario  Regiment  charged  through 
the  debris  of  the  mine  explosion,  only  to  run  into  the  deadly  hail 
sent  at  them  by  the  machine  guns.  But  the  Canadians  were 
determined  to  complete  their  task,  and  they  took  Dorchester 
and  the  connecting  trench.  The  fire  was  too  heavy  for  them  to 
reach  Stony  Mountain.  A  group  of  bombers  made  a  dash  for- 
ward, but  were  shot  down  before  they  could  get  near  enough  to 
use  their  weapons. 

The  second  and  third  companies  rushed  forward,  suffering 
severely  from  the  deluge  of  lead,  but  some  of  their  men  got  into 


the  German  second  line  and  then  began  to  bomb  theii  way  to 
right  and  left.  The  captured  first  trench  was  utilized  by  the 
attacking  force.  From  that  vantage  the  advance  was  led  by  a 
machine  gun  which  was  followed  by  a  group  of  bomb  throwers. 
In  working  forward  the  machine-gun  base  became  lost  when  the 
man  who  had  it  was  slain.  Thereupon  a  Canadian  "lumberjack" 
named  Vincent  became  the  base,  the  machine  gun  being  fired 
from  his  back.  But  the  German  bomb  throwers  drove  the  attack- 
ing force  out  of  the  trench.  The  Germans  kept  a  rain  of  lead 
between  the  Canadians  and  the  British  line  of  trenches  with  the 
result  that  it  was  almost  suicide  for  a  man  to  attempt  to  return 
for  bombs.  Nevertheless  many  braved  the  ordeal.  Only  one  was 
successful.  He,  Private  Smith  of  Southampton,  Ontario,  seemed 
to  bear  a  charmed  life,  for  he  made  the  trip  five  times.  The  Third 
Canadian  Battalion  was  sent  forward  to  reenforce  the  Ontario 
Regiment  which  had  lost  most  of  its  officers,  but  such  a  pressure 
^of  German  forces  were  brought  to  bear  on  the  Canadians  that 
!the  reenforcements  were  unavailing,  and  the  Canadians  were 
forced  to  relinquish  all  they  had  gained,  and  return  to  their  own 
ptrenches  that  night. 

The  retreat  was  a  desperate  undertaking;  the  Germans  then 
:had  the  Canadians  in  the  open  and  added  heavily  to  the  Cana- 
'dian's  death  roll.  On  the  other  side  of  Stony  Mountain  the 
'British  had  met  with  no  better  success  than  the  Canadians. 
^Having  started  their  enemies  back,  the  Germans  massed  for  a 
counterattack  and  drove  them  back  a  mile,  but  not  without  a 

jrrific  struggle.  The  battle  field  was  lighted  by  the  peculiar 
[fireworks  used  for  such  purposes  and  bursting  of  shells.    Jets  of 

lame  shot  forth  from  machine  guns  and  rifles.  In  many  places 
the  intermittent  light  disclosed  deadly  hand-to-hand  conflicts. 

luddenly  the  Germans  concentrated  their  fire  on  a  portion  of 

leir  lost  first  line  of  trenches,  and  the  trenches  of  their  ene- 

[mies  who  held  them  were  no  more.     Having  the  British  and 

Canadians  defeated,  as  they  believed,  the  Germans  proceeded 

^to  add  to  their  victory  by  storming  the  British  and  Canadian 

inches.    They  met  with  resistance,  however,  that  drove  them 


146  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

At  daybreak  on  June  16,  1915,  the  artillery  on  both  sides  re- 
sumed firing  on  a  large  scale.  Suddenly,  in  the  afternoon,  the 
British  fire  increased  preparatory  to  another  charge.  This  time 
the  British  commander  had  selected  a  smaller  section  for  his 
attack.  This  was  at  Rue  d'Ouvert,  and  the  men  who  had  been 
selected  to  make  the  charge  were  the  Territorials  and  the  Liver- 
pool Irish.  They  got  into  the  first  line  of  German  trenches 
which  the  Teutons  shelled  to  such  an  extent  that  the  remnant  of 
the  attacking  force  had  to  retreat.  Then  the  Second  Gordon 
Highlanders  and  other  Scotch  soldiers  made  a  gallant  charge  at 
the  same  place,  Rue  d'Ouvert,  on  June  18,  1915,  but  were  forced 
to  retire  to  their  own  trenches. 

These  attacks  on  this  part  of  the  German  front  resulted  in 
repulses  for  those  who  made  them;  but,  at  the  same  time,  they 
helped  the  Allies  win  victories  elsewhere  by  keeping  the  German 
troops  on  that  part  of  the  line  from  going  to  reenf orce  those  who 
were  being  hard  pressed  by  the  French.  In  this  manner  the 
British  and  Canadians,  who  fought  so  valiantly  and  with  so  little 
apparent  success  at  Stony  Mountain  and  Rue  d'Ouvert,  were  in  a 
measure  responsible  for  the  French  victories  at  Angres,  Souchez, 
and  the  Labyrinth.  The  Crown  Prince  of  Bavaria  could  not  hold 
out  against  both  the  French  and  British,  but  he  believed  it  was 
more  important  for  him  to  check  the  British,  because  a  victory 
for  them  would  threaten  Lille  to  a  greater  extent. 



THE  next  action  of  importance  on  the  British  front  occurred 
at  the  Chateau  of  Hooge  on  the  Menin  road  about  three  miles 
east  of  Ypres.  Here  had  been  the  headquarters  of  Sir  John 
French  and  Sir  Douglas  Haig  at  the  first  battle  of  Ypres.  From 
the  Chateau  Sir  John  French  had  seen  the  British  line  break  at 
Gheluvelt,  thereby  opening  the  road  for  the  Germans  to  Calais. 


That  opening,  however,  had  been  closed  by  the  Worcesters. 
After  the  Germans  began  to  use  their  deadly  gas  in  the  spring  of 
1915  they  again  took  possession  of  Hooge,  and  used  the  Menin 
road  for  a  forward  movement  which  threatened  what  was  left 
of  Ypres. 

The  Duke  of  Wurttemberg  was  in  command  of  that  part  of  the 
line  opposed  to  the  British,  and  his  forces  extended  from  near 
Pilkem  in  the  north  to  near  Hill  60  in  the  south,  in  the  form  of 
a  crescent.  He  made  use  of  the  asphyxiating  gas  cloud  and  gas 
bombs  so  frequently  on  this  part  of  the  front  that  the  British 
soldiers  became  expert  in  donning  their  hoodlike  masks  and  in 
using  respirators.  Moreover,  the  British  were  constantly  on  the 
alert  for  the  appearance  of  the  poison  gas.  So  that  this  method 
of  attack  was  much  less  effective.  Before  the  Germans  dis- 
covered how  well  the  British  had  prepared  themselves  against 
the  gas,  they  met  with  disaster  twice  when  using  it.  On  both 
occasions  they  had  followed  their  gas  cloud  expecting  to  find 
their  foes  writhing  on  the  ground  in  choking  agony — an  easy 
prey  for  an  attack. 

But  the  British  had  put  on  their  curious-appearing  headgear, 
and  were  waiting  for  the  men  whom  they  knew  would  be  f ollow* 
ing  the  cloud  at  a  safe  distance.  As  soon  as  the  Germans  were 
near  enough  the  British  turned  loose  everything  that  would  hurl 
a  projectile  large  or  small.  By  the  time  the  gas  cloud  had 
cleared,  or,  to  be  more  accurate,  passed  on  to  the  rear  of  the 
British  line  and  spent  itself,  the  only  Germans  to  be  seen  were 
in  the  piles  of  dead  and  wounded  in  front  of  the  British  most 
advanced  trenches.  The  first  time  this  occurred  did  not  teach  the 
Germans  its  lesson  sufficiently  well.  A  second  time  the  Germans 
did  not  follow  their  gas  cloud  so  closely.  The  gas-filled  shells, 
however,  the  British  found  more  difficult.  They  did  not  give 
warning  of  their  coming  as  did  the  appearance  of  the  com- 
paratively slow-moving  gas  cloud.  Thus  in  the  first  week  of 
May,  1915,  Hill  60  was  taken  by  the  Germans  in  a  bombardment 
of  asphyxiating  shells.  The  bombardment  had  been  immediately 
followed  by  a  charge  of  bomb  throwers  who  made  an  assault  on 
the  hill  from  three  sides  at  once.     That  forced  the  British  to 

148  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

retreat  to  a  trench  line  at  the  foot  of  the  hill,  and  gave  the  top  of 
the  hill  to  the  Germans  who  immediately  set  up  a  lookout  post 
for  their  artillery  back  of  the  Zandvoord  ridge. 

This  part  of  the  British  line  was  under  the  command  of  Sir 
Herbert  Plumer.  His  troops  occupied  themselves  from  the  first 
week  in  May  to  the  middle  of  August,  1915,  in  fighting  in  the 
Hooge  district.  Most  of  this  fighting  was  important  only  be- 
cause it  kept  the  Germans  busy  on  that  section  of  the  line,  and 
prevented  them  from  being  able  to  reenforce  the  Crown  Prince 
of  Bavaria  or  adding  men  to  the  force  that  was  driving  the 
Russians  eastward. 

The  men,  fresh  from  the  training  camps,  fought  alongside  of 
hardened  veterans  and  learned  much  from  them.  From  being 
what  amounted  to  auxiliaries  in  these  actions  the  new  troops 
became  hardened  to  actual  fighting  conditions.  For  this  reason 
the  personnel  of  the  British  troops  on  this  part  of  the  line  was 
changed  frequently.  This  was  especially  true  at  Hooge.  Prin- 
cess Patricia's  Canadian  Regiment  occupied  the  Chateau  and 
village  of  Hooge  on  May  8,  1915.  The  "Princess  Pats,"  as  they 
were  known  at  home,  turned  over  their  quarters  to  the  Ninth 
Lancers  who  were  followed  by  the  Fifteenth  Hussars  and  the 
Second  Camerons. 

On  May  24,  1915,  the  Germans  made  a  great  gas  attack.  They 
had  placed  along  the  line  from  St.  Julien  to  Hooge  a  great  num- 
ber of  gas  tanks.  They  then  started  a  bombardment  with  as- 
phyxiating shells.  When  the  bombardment  was  well  under  way 
the  tanks  were  opened.  The  ensuing  cloud  was  five  miles  long 
and  forty  feet  high ;  and  it  floated  over  the  British  trenches  from 
3  a.  m.  to  7  a.  m.  The  cloud  was  followed  by  three  columns  of 
infantry,  who  dashed  forward  under  the  protection  of  the  shells 
of  their  artillery.  But  the  Germans  made  gains  in  only  two 
places — at  Hooge  and  to  the  north  of  Wieltje.  For  the  most 
part  the  British  regained  by  counterattacks  what  they  lost;  but 
they  were  unable  to  retake  the  Chateau  of  Hooge,  though  the 
Ninth  Lancers  and  the  Fifteenth  Hussars  made  a  heroic  attempt 
to  regain  it.  Thereupon  the  Third  Dragoons  received  orders  to 
attempt  to  retake  the  Chateau  of  Hooge.    They  went  into  th^ 


second  line  of  the  British  trenches  to  the  south  of  the  Menin 
road  on  May  29,  1915.  The  Germans  bombarded  the  trenches 
with  high-explosive  shells  while  from  the  German  trenches  a 
torrent  of  small  arms  fire  poured.  In  spite  of  the  continued  hail 
of  lead,  the  Dragoons  held  to  their  position  though  their  trenches 
were  wrecked. 

Early  in  the  morning  of  May  31,  the  British  charged  and  drove 
their  enemy  from  the  ruins  of  the  Chateau  and  its  stables.  The 
Germans  turned  all  of  their  artillery  on  that  part  of  the  line 
against  Hooge,  and  when  the  bombardment  was  finished  there 
was  only  a  heap  of  ruins  left.  The  British  withdrew  from  the 
Chateau,  but  only  for  a  short  distance. 

The  bombardment  was  renewed  on  June  1;  on  that  day  the 
iGerman  infantry  tried  to  dislodge  the  Dragoons,  but  the  attempt 
rwas  unsuccessful.  Again,  on  June  2,  the  artillery  was  used, 
|the  German  shells  being  hurled  a  part  of  the  time  at  the  rate 
f,of  twenty  a  minute.  Under  the  cover  of  this  terrific  bombard- 
ment a  part  of  the  German  infantry  charged  from  the  Belle- 
iwaarde  Lake  region.  They  got  to  the  Chateau  before  a  British 
[battery  opened  fire  on  them.  Again  they  entered  the  ruins  and 
made  a  dash  out  on  the  opposite  side,  where  they  were  met  by 
jmore  machine-gun  fire.  Three  times  they  tried  to  escape,  but 
^practically  all  of  them  were  slain.  Other  attempts  were  made 
[by  the  Germans  that  afternoon,  but  none  of  them  was  successful. 

The  Dragoons  were  relieved  on  June  3,  1915,  and  their  places 
[were  taken  by  a  much  larger  force.  It  included  the  Third 
IWorcesters,  the  First  Wiltshires,  the  First  Northumberland 
[Fusiliers,  the  First  Lincolnshires,  the  Royal  Fusiliers,  the  Royal 
Scots  Fusiliers,  and  the  Liverpool  Scottish,  a  territorial  organ- 

The  British  artillery  was  concentrated  in  the  neighborhood  of 
[ooge  and  started  a  bombardment  on  June  16.  After  a  fairly 
idequate  preparation  by  cannonade,  the  infantry  charged 
le  German  line  for  a  thousand  yards  near  the  Chateau,  and 

)k  a  part  of  the  second  line  of  trenches.  Again  the  British 
>ayonet  and  bomb  had  won,  though  in  this  attack  the  greater 
jredit  must  be  given  to  the  bomb.   The  Germans  made  an  attempt 

150  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

to  retrieve  the  day  by  battering  the  British  out  of  the  trenches 
they  had  won.  To  do  this  the  German  artillery  used  a  plentiful 
supply  of  high-explosive  shells.  They  continued  the  attempt  for 
twenty-four  hours ;  but  all  they  succeeded  in  doing  was  driving 
the  British  back  to  the  first  line  of  German  trenches  where  they 
waited  for  the  inevitable  attack  of  the  infantry  which  was  re- 
pulsed. Finally  the  Germans  seemed  inclined  to  give  up  trying 
to  accomplish  much  on  this  part  of  their  front. 

In  the  first  week  of  July,  1915,  the  British  took  two  hundred 
yards  of  German  trenches,  eighty  prisoners  and  three  trench 
mortars.  The  German  commander  now  turned  once  more  to 
Hooge.  An  additional  reason  for  his  renewed  interest  in  that 
place  was  the  fact  that  the  British  engineers,  on  July  20,  blew 
up  a  mine  west  of  the  Chateau,  thereby  making  a  great  crater 
in  which  the  British  infantry  made  themselves  comparatively 
secure.  The  crater  was  one  hundred  and  fifty  feet  wide  and 
fifty  feet  deep. 

The  Germans  made  an  unsuccessful  attempt  to  take  the  crater 
on  July  21,  1915;  and  tried  again  on  July  24.  The  Duke  of 
Wiirttemberg  found  his  men  making  comparatively  little  prog- 
ress. It  is  true  that  the  British  had  not  made  much  more.  The 
gas  attacks  had  gained  ground  before  the  British  had  learned 
how  to  avoid  the  more  severe  effects  of  the  poison.  The  result 
of  experience  brought  into  existence  a  new  device.  It  has  been 
called  a  flame  projector,  and  has  been  described  as  a  portable 
tank  which  is  filled  with  a  highly  inflammable  coal-tar  product. 
The  contents  of  the  tank  were  pumped  through  a  nozzle  at  the 
end  of  which  was  a  lighting  arrangement.  The  flame  could  be 
thrown  approximately  forty  yards. 

A  large  supply  of  these  flame  projectors  arrived  in  the  Ger- 
man trenches  on  July  30,  1915.  The  action  began  with  the 
usual  bombardment  of  high-explosive  shells.  Other  shells  filled 
with  the  burning  liquid  were  also  used.  At  the  height  of  the 
bombardment,  the  British  lines  were  flame  swept.  No  prepara- 
tion had  been  made  for  such  an  attack ;  and  the  only  thing  that 
the  British  could  do  was  to  get  out  of  the  way  of  the  flame. 
Thus  they  lost  their  trenches  in  the  crater  and  at  the  Chateau 


and  village  of  Hooge.  The  method  of  attack  so  infuriated  the 
British  that  they  made  a  desperate  counterattack  with  the  result 
that  they  regained  most  of  what  they  lost  with  the  exception  of 
about  five  hundred  yards  of  trenches. 



WE  have  thus  far  dealt  chiefly  with  the  British  operations 
in  the  western  front,  but  it  must  not  be  assumed  that  the 
French,  in  the  meantime,  were  idle.  On  the  contrary,  their 
operations,  covering  the  far  greater  territory,  were  proportion- 
ally more  important  than  those  of  their  allies. 

During  the  winter  months  artillery  duels  along  the  entire 
Franco-German  front  were  kept  up  without  intercession.  These 
were  varied  by  assaults  on  exposed  points  which  were  in  many 
cases  repeatedly  taken  and  lost  by  the  opposing  forces. 

The  French  staff  applied  itself  with  the  utmost  vigor  to  the 
accumulation  of  large  stacks  of  munitions  and  supplies  for  the 
production  of  active  movements  when  weather  conditions  should 
permit.  For  the  most  part,  however,  the  Franco-German 
operations  were  desultory  movements  occurring  in  various  por- 
tions of  the  long  line.  Actions  of  the  first  importance  began 
r   with  the  attacks  in  the  St.  Mihiel  salient  in  April,  1915. 

§0n  the  night  of  February  6,  1915,  Germans  exploded  three 
ines  at  La  Boisselle  in  front  of  the  houses  in  the  village  which 
le  French  occupied,  but  the  attempt  of  the  Germans  to  advance 
as  checked  after  a  small  amount  of  ground  had  been  gained. 
The  next  day  a  counterattack  carried  out  by  a  French  company 
retook  this  ground,  and  inflicted  a  loss  of  200  men.  The  French 
seized  a  wood  north  of  Mesnil-les-Hurles  on  the  night  of 
February  7.  Here  the  Germans  had  strongly  established  them- 

152  THE   STORY   OF   THE   GREAT   WAR 

During  the  first  part  of  February,  1915,  the  Germans  made  a 
series  of  assaults  on  the  Marie  Therese  works  in  the  Argonne. 
Their  force  comprised  about  a  brigade ;  but  the  French  repulsed 
all  attacks.  Both  sides  suffered  severe  losses.  On  the  night  of 
February  9,  there  was  an  infantry  engagement  at  La  Fontenelle 
in  the  Ban  de  Sapt.  Two  battalions  of  Germans  took  part  in 
the  action  and  gained  some  ground  which  the  French  regained 
by  counterattacks  on  the  following  day. 

Actions  in  the  Vosges  continued  in  spite  of  heavy  snow.  The 
French  carried  Hill  937,  eight  hundred  meters  northwest  of  the 
farm  of  Sudelle,  in  the  region  north  of  Hartmannsweilerkopf. 

About  February  9, 1915,  there  was  considerable  activity  on  the 
part  of  the  German  artillery  in  Champagne,  especially  before 
Rheims.  The  city  being  again  bombarded.  There  was  also  a  lively 
cannonade  in  the  region  of  Lens,  around  Albert,  between  the 
Avre  and  Oise,  in  the  neighborhood  of  Soissons,  and  at  Vemeuil, 
northeast  of  Vailly.  In  Lorraine  the  Germans,  after  having 
pushed  back  the  French  main  guard,  succeeded  in  occupying  the 
height  of  the  Xon  beacon  and  the  hamlet  of  Norroy.  The  Ger- 
mans were  repulsed  by  a  counterattack  as  far  as  the  slopes 
north  of  the  beacon. 

The  French  on  February  18  made  some  progress  in  the  region 
of  Boureuilles  on  Hill  No.  263.  They  also  gained  a  wood  south 
of  the  Vois  de  Cheppy.  At  the  same  time  French  troops  took 
four  hundred  meters  of  trenches  north  of  Malancourt  and  about 
as  much  south  of  the  Bois  de  Forges.  The  Germans  made  five 
unsuccessful  counterattacks,  near  Bolincourt,  to  retake  the 
trenches  which  the  French  had  captured.  On  the  same  day,  the 
French  recaptured  the  village  of  Norroy.  In  the  Vosges,  the 
French  repulsed  two  infantry  attacks  north  of  Wisembach,  in 
the  region  of  the  Col  de  Bonhomme,  and  consolidated  their  posi- 
tions, progressing  methodically  north  and  south  of  the  farm  of 
Sudelle.  The  bombardment  of  Rheims  was  continued  during 
these  days.  On  the  heights  of  the  Meuse,  at  Les  Eparges, 
three  German  counterattacks  on  the  trenches  which  tha  French 
had  won  on  February  17  were  stopped  by  the  French  artil- 
lery fire. 


In  the  Vosges,  between  Lusse  and  Wisembach,  in  the  Bon- 
homme  region,  the  Germans,  after  succeeding  in  getting  a  foot- 
ing on  Hill  607,  were  dislodged  on  the  morning  of  February  19, 
1915.  The  French  held  their  position  on  the  height  notwith- 
standing the  violent  efforts  to  dislodge  them.  An  attack  by  the 
Germans  on  Le  Sattel  north  of  the  Sudelle  farm  was  also 

In  the  evening  of  February  19,  1915,  the  Germans  delivered 
their  fourth  counterattack  against  the  trenches  which  the  French 
took  at  Les  Eparges,  but  the  French  artillery  again  beat  them 
back.  The  Germans  were  also  unsuccessful  in  a  counterattack 
on  Hill  607,  at  Sattel,  south  of  the  FecKt.  They  succeeded  in 
gaining  a  footing  on  the  eastern  spur  of  Reichsackerkopf . 

After  having  repulsed  a  sixth  counterattack  by  the  Germans 
at  Les  Eparges,  the  French  on  February  10,  1915,  delivered  a 
fresh  attack  which  enabled  them  to  enlarge  and  complete  the 
progress  they  made  on  the  day  before.  They  took  three  machine 
guns,  two  trench  mortars,  and  made  two  hundred  prisoners, 
among  whom  were  several  officers. 

They  also  repulsed  a  counterattack  of  the  Germans  and  then 
took  all  of  their  trenches  to  the  north  and  east  of  the  wood  which 
had  been  captured  by  the  French  on  the  day  before.  Two  other 
counterattacks  were  repulsed,  and  the  French  made  fresh  prog-- 
ress,  particularly  to  the  north  of  Mesnil,  where  they  captured 
two  machine  guns  and  one  hundred  prisoners.  The  Germans 
made  their  seventh  unsuccessful  counterattack  on  Les  Eparges 
on  February  21.  The  French  advanced  posts  fell  back  on  the 
main  line  in  Alsace  on  both  banks  of  the  Fecht;  but  the  main 
line  was  strongly  held,  and  the  Germans,  attacking  in  serriec? 
and  deep  formations,  suffered  heavy  losses. 

On  the  Belgian  front  the  French  batteries  demolished  one  of 
I  the  German  heavy  guns  near  Lombaertzyde  on  February  22, 
1915.  On  the  same  day  the  French  artillery  dispersed  German 
troops  and  convoys  between  the  Lys  and  the  Aisne.  The  French 
imade  progress  on  the  Souain-Beausejour  front,  taking  a  line  of 
^ trenches  and  two  woods,  and  repulsed  two  particularly  violent 
counterattacks.    Many  prisoners  were  taken  by  the  French  in 

154  THE   STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

this  action.  In  the  Argonne  the  French  artillery  and  infantry 
had  the  better  of  the  almost  continuous  fighting.  This  was 
especially  true  near  Fontaine-aux-Charmes  and  Marie  Therese, 
as  well  as  at  the  Bois  Bolante. 

The  bombardment  of  Rheims  continued  on  February  22, 
lasting  for  a  first  period  of  six  hours,  and  a  second  period  of 
five  hours.  One  thousand  five  hundred  shells  were  fired  into 
all  quarters  of  the  town.  The  cathedral  was  made  a  special 
target  and  suffered  severely.  The  interior  of  the  vaulted  root 
which  had  resisted  up  to  this  time,  fell.  Twenty  houses  were 
set  on  fire  and  twenty  of  the  civilian  population  were  killed. 

The  French  captured  more  trenches  in  the  region  of  Beause- 
jour  and  held  their  gains  of  previous  fighting,  on  February  23, 
1915.  Their  batteries  blew  up  a  German  ammunition  store  to 
the  northwest  of  Verdun  at  Drillancourt,  in  the  region  of  the 
Bois  de  Forges,  on  the  same  day,  February  23, 1915,  and  stopped 
an  attempted  German  attack  in  Alsace  from  the  village  of  Stoss- 

There  was  an  action  of  some  importance  in  the  Wood  of  Mal- 
ancourt,  on  February  26,  1915,  when  the  Germans  sprayed  the 
French  advanced  trenches  with  burning  liquid.  The  French 
troops  evacuated  them,  the  soldiers  being  severely  burned  before 
they  could  escape.  A  counterattack  was  immediately  made. 
This  checked  the  German  advance.  On  the  same  day,  in  the 
region  of  Verdun  and  on  the  heights  of  the  Meuse,  the  French 
heavy  artillery  enveloped  with  its  fire  the  German  artillery, 
wrecked  some  guns,  exploded  about  twenty  wagons  or  depots, 
annihilated  a  detachment,  and  destroyed  an  entire  encampment. 

In  Champagne  the  French  on  the  night  of  February  26,  19lS, 
captured  five  hundred  meters  of  German  trenches  to  the  north 
of  Mesnil-Ies-Hurles. 

On  February  28,  1915,  Rheims  was  again  bombarded  and  still 
again  on  March  2, 1915.  About  fifty  shells  fell  on  the  town.  In 
the  Argonne,  on  March  2,  1915,  in  the  Bagatelle-Marie  Therese 
sector,  there  was  mine  and  infantry  fighting  in  an  advanced 
trench  which  the  French  reoccupied  after  they  had  been  forced 
to  abandon  it.    At  the  same  time  in  the  region  of  Vauquois,  the 


French  made  some  progress  and  held  the  ground  captured  in 
spite  of  the  counterattacks  of  the  Germans.  The  French  also 
took  some  prisoners.  In  the  Vosges,  at  La  Chapelotte,  they  cap- 
tured trenches  and  gained  three  hundred  meters  of  ground. 

The  bombardment  of  Rheims  was  continued  on  March  4, 1915, 
and  lasted  all  day,  a  shell  falling  about  every  three  minutes. 
While  the  bombardment  was  in  progress  the  Germans  captured 
an  advanced  trench  from  the  French  to  the  north  of  Arras,  near 
Notre  Dame  de  Lorette;  but  in  the  Argonne  the  French  made 
fresh  progress  in  the  region  of  Vauquois.  On  the  following 
day,  March  5,  however,  the  French  made  successful  counter- 
attacks in  the  region  of  Notre  Dame  de  Lorette.  The  Germans 
lost  the  advanced  positions  which  they  had  taken  from  the 
French  and  held  them  for  two  days.  At  Hartmannsweilerkopf, 
in  Alsace,  the  French  captured  a  trench,  a  small  fort,  and  two 
machine  guns.  They  also  repulsed  a  counterattack  opposite 
Uffholz,  and  blew  up  an  ammunition  store  at  Cernay.  On  the 
same  night,  the  French  drove  back  the  German  advanced  posts 
which  were  trying  to  establish  themselves  on  the  Sillakerkopf,  a 
spur  east  of  Hohneck. 

The  French  continued  to  gain  ground,  on  March  7,  to  the 

north  of  Arras  in  the  region  of  Notre  Dame  de  Lorette,  where 

their  attacks  carried  some  German  trenches.    The  German  losses 

were  considerable.    During  this  first  week  in  March,  1915,  the 

French  carried  successively,  to  the  west  of  Miinster,  the  two 

summits  of  the  Little  and  the  Great  Reichaelerkopf.    The  Ger- 

^mans  made  two  counterattacks  starting  from  Muhlbach  and 

Itossweiler ;  but  they  were  unsuccessful.    On  the  right  bank  of 

le  Fecht  the  French  captured  Imburg,  one  kilometer  south- 

ist  of  Sultzern.     This  success  was  completed  farther  to  th^ 

lorth  by  the  capture  of  Hill  856  to  the  south  of  the  Hutes 

'utles.    Finally,  at  Hartmannsweilerkopf  the  French  repelled  a 

counterattack  delivered  by  a  German  battalion  which  suffered 

leavy  losses  and  left  numerous  prisoners  in  the  hands  of  the 


On  March  8,  1915,  the  French  gained  two  hundred  meters 
on  the  ridge  northeast  pf  Mesnil  which  they  added  to  tHe  gains 

156  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

of  the  previous  day.  Here  the  French  carried  a  German  reaoubt, 
took  a  revolver  gun  and  three  machine  guns,  and  made  some 
prisoners.  The  Germans  had  armored  shelters  supplied  with 
revolver  guns  and  very  deep  subterranean  chambers.  In  the 
Argonne,  between  Four-de-Paris  and  Bolante,  the  French  de- 
livered an  attack  which  made  them  masters  of  the  first  line  of 
German  trenches  of  more  than  two  hundred  meters  in  length. 

To  the  north  of  Rheims  in  front  of  the  Bois  de  Luxembourg, 
the  Germans  attempted,  on  March  14,  to  carry  one  of  the  French 
advanced  trenches,  but  were  repulsed.  On  the  same  day,  be- 
tween Four-de-Paris  and  Bolante  in  the  Argonne,  the  French 
gained  three  hundred  meters  of  trenches,  and  took  some 
prisoners.  Two  counterattacks  which  the  Germans  made  were 

In  the  region  of  Lombaertzyde  on  March  15,  the  French  artil- 
lery very  effectively  bombarded  the  German  works.  When  the 
Germans  attempted  to  recapture  the  small  fort  which  was  taken 
from  them  on  the  night  of  March  1  they  were  repulsed  and  left 
fifty  dead.  The  French  losses  were  small.  To  the  north  of 
Arras,  a  brilliant  attack  by  the  French  infantry  enabled  them  to 
capture,  by  a  single  effort,  three  lines  of  trenches  on  the  spur 
of  Notre  Dame  de  Lorette,  and  to  reach  the  edge  of  the  plateau. 
The  French  captured  one  hundred  prisoners  including  several 
officers.  They  also  destroyed  two  machine  guns  and  blew  up 
an  ammunition  store.  Farther  to  the  south,  in  the  region  of 
Eeurie-Roclincourt,  near  the  road  from  Lille,  they  blew  up 
several  German  trenches  and  prevented  their  reconstruction.  In 
Champagne  the  French  made  fresh  progress.  They  gained 
ground  in  the  woods  to  the  northeast  of  Souain  and  to  the  north- 
west of  Perthes.  They  also  repulsed  two  German  counterattacks 
in  front  of  Ridge  196,  northeast  of  Mesnil,  and  extended  their 
position  in  that  sector.  In  the  region  of  Bagatelle  in  the  Argonne 
two  German  counterattacks  were  repulsed.  The  French  de- 
molished a  blockhouse  there,  "and  established  themselves  on  the 
site  of  it.  Between  Four-de-Paris  and  Bolante  the  Germans  at- 
tempted two  counterattacks  which  failed.  At  Vauquois  the 
French  infantry  delivered  an  attack  which  gave  it  possession  of 


the  western  part  of  the  village.  Here  they  made  prisoners.  At 
the  Bois-le-Pretre,  northeast  of  Pont-a-Mousson,  the  Germans 
blew  up  with  a  mine  four  of  the  French  advanced  trenches  which 
were  completely  destroyed.  The  Germans  gained  a  footing 
there,  but  the  French  retook  the  first  two  trenches  and  a  half  of 
the  third.  Between  the  Bois-le-Pretre  and  Pont-a-Mousson,  in 
the  Haut  de  Rupt,  the  Germans  made  an  attack  which  was 

In  Champagne,  before  Hill  196,  northeast  of  Mesnil,  on  March 
19,  1915,  the  Germans,  after  violently  bombarding  the  French 
position,  made  an  infantry  attack  which  was  repulsed  with 
heavy  losses. 

In  the  Woevre,  in  the  Bois  Mortmore,  on  March  20,  1915,  the 
French  artillery  destroyed  a  blockhouse  and  blew  up  several 
ammunition  wagons  and  stores.  At  La  Boisselle,  northeast  of 
Albert,  the  Germans,  after  a  violent  bombardment,  attempted  a 
night  attack  which  was  repulsed  with  large  losses. 

The  Germans  bombarded  the  Cathedral  of  Soissons  again  on 
March  21,  1915,  firing  twenty-seven  shells  and  causing  severe 
damage  to  the  structure.  On  the  same  day  Rheims  was  bom- 
barded, fifty  shells  falling  there. 

Near  Bagatelle  the  French,  on  March  22,  blew  up  three  mines ; 
and  two  companies  of  their  troops  stormed  a  German  trench 
in  which  they  maintained  their  position  in  spite  of  a  strong 
counterattack.  Five  hundred  yards  from  there,  the  Germans, 
after  exploding  two  mines,  and  bombarding  the  French  trenches, 
rushed  to  an  attack  on  a  front  of  about  two  hundred  and  fifty 
yards.  After  some  very  hot  hand-to-hand  fighting  the  assailants 
were  hurled  back  in  spite  of  the  arrival  of  their  reenforcements. 

le  French  artillery  caught  them  under  its  fire  as  they  were 

tiling  back,  and  inflicted  very  heavy  losses. 

The  French  then  retreated  some  fifteen  meters  at  Vauquois 
b  March  23,  1915,  when  the  Germans  sprayed  one  of  their 
'enches  with  inflammable  liquid. 

158  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 




THERE  were  some  weak  places  in  the  French  line  from 
Switzerland  to  the  North  Sea ;  and  one  of  them  was  that  part 
in  the  region  between  the  Forest  of  the  Argonne  and  Rheims. 
G^eral  Langle  de  Gary  was  in  command  of  the  army  which  held 
this  section.  It  requires  no  military  genius  to  comprehend  that  the 
French  colter  and  the  right  wing  from  Belfort  to  Verdun  were 
not  safe  until  the  Germans  had  been  forced  back  across  the  Aisne 
at  every  place.  The  French  general  had  made  an  effort  to  drive 
the  Germans  under  General  von  Einem  from  Champagne  Pouil- 
leuse.  The  preliminary  effort  had  been  to  stop  the  Germans  from 
using  the  railroad  which  ran  from  near  the  Nort  to  Varennes 
through  the  Forest  of  the  Argonne  and  across  the  upper  Aisne 
to  Bazancourt. 

After  the  battle  of  the  Marne,  the  crown  prince's  army,  severely 
handled  by  the  Third  French  Army  under  General  Sarrail, 
pushed  hastily  toward  the  north  and  established  itself  on  a  line 
running  perpendicularly  through  the  Argonne  Forest,  at  about 
ten  or  fifteen  kilometers  from  the  road  connecting  Ste.  Menehould 
with  Verdun.  Almost  immediately  there  developed  a  series  of 
fights  that  lasted  during  a  whole  year  and  were  really  among  the 
bloodiest  and  most  murderous  combats  of  the  war.  The  German 
army  in  the  Argonne,  commanded  by  the  crown  prince,  whose 
headquarters  had  long  been  established  at  Stenay,  consisted  of 
the  finest  German  troops,  including,  among  others,  the  famous 
Sixteenth  Corps  from  Metz,  which,  with  the  Fifteenth  Corps 
from  Strassburg,  is  considered  the  cream  of  the  Germanic  forces. 
This  corps  was  commanded  by  the  former  governor  of  Metz, 
General  von  Mudra,  an  expert  in  all  branches  of  warfare  relating 
to  fortresses  and  mines.  Specially  reenforced  by  battalions  of 
sharpshooters  and  a  division  of  Wurttembergers,  the  Twenty- 
Seventh,  accustomed  to  forest  warfare,  this  corps  made  the  most 


Slllllllllll Illllllll 



violent  efforts  from  the  end  of  September,  1914,  to  throw  the 
French  troops  back  to  the  south  and  seize  the  road  to  Verdun. 
The  crown  prince  evidently  meant  to  sever  this  route  and  the 
adjoining  highway,  leading  from  Verdun  to  Ste.  Menehould.  The 
road  then  turns  to  the  south  and  joins  at  Revigny,  the  main  line 
of  Bar-le-Duc  to  Paris  via  Chalons,  forming,  in  fact,  the  only 
possible  line  of  communication  for  the  fortress  of  Verdun.  The 
other  line,  running  from  Verdun  to  St.  Mihiel,  was  rendered  use- 
less after  the  Germans  had  fixed  themselves  at  St.  Mihiel  in 
September,  1914. 

Up  to  the  first  months  of  1916  there  was  only  a  small  local  rail- 
way that  could  be  used  between  Revigny  and  Ste.  Menehould  by 
Triaucourt.  Of  the  two  big  lines,  one  was  cut  by  the  Germans, 
and  the  other  was  exposed  to  the  fire  of  their  heavy  artillery. 

The  violence  of  the  German  attacks  in  the  Argonne  prove  that 
so  long  ago  as  September,  1914,  they  already  dreamt  of  taking 
Verdun.  Their  aim  was  to  force  the  French  troops  against  Ste. 
Menehould  and  invest  the  fortress  on  three  sides  to  bring  about 
its  fall. 

These  Argonne  battles  were  invested  with  a  particular  interest 
and  originality.  They  were  in  progress  for  a  whole  year,  in  a 
thick  forest  of  almost  impenetrable  brushwood,  split  with  numer- 
ous deep  ravines  and  abrupt,  slippery  precipices.  The  humidity 
of  the  forest  is  excessive,  the  waters  pouring  down  from  high 
promontories.  The  soldiers  who  struggled  here  practically  spent 
two  winters  in  the  water. 

One  can  hardly  imagine  the  courage  and  heroism  necessary  to 
bear  the  terrible  hardships  of  fighting  under  such  conditions. 
All  the  German  soldiers  made  prisoners  by  the  French  describe 
life  in  the  Argonne  as  a  hideous  nightmare. 

From  the  end  of  September,  1914,  the  Germans  delivered  day 
and  night  attacks,  generally  lasting  ten  days.  These  attacks  were 
made  with  forces  of  three  or  four  battalions  up  to  a  division  or 
a  division  and  a  half.  In  each  attack  the  Germans  aimed  at  a 
very  limited  objective — ^to  capture  the  first  or  second  line  of 
trenches,  to  seize  some  particular  fortified  point.  That  object 
once  attained,  the  Germans  held  on  there,  consolidated  the  occu- 

ll—War  St.  3 

160  THE    STORY    OF  THE    GREAT   WAR 

pied  terrain,  fortified  their  new  positions  and  prepared  for 
another  push  forward.  It  was  thus  by  a  process  of  nibbling  the 
French  trenches  bit  by  bit  that  the  Germans  hoped  to  attain 
the  Verdun-Ste.  Menehould  line. 

The  tactics  employed  in  these  combats  were  those  suited  to 
forest  fighting;  sapping  operations  methodically  and  minutely 
carried  out  to  bring  the  German  trenches  as  near  as  possible 
to  the  French;  laying  small  mines  to  be  exploded  at  a  certain 
hour.  Two  or  three  hours  before  an  attack  the  French  positions 
were  bombarded  by  trench  mortars  and  especially  heavy  mintf 

At  the  short  distances  the  effect  would  naturally  be  to  cause 
considerable  damage;  trenches  and  their  parapets  were  demol- 
ished, shelters,  screening  reserves,  were  torn  open.  At  that 
moment  when  the  attack  is  to  be  launched,  the  German  artillery 
drops  the  "fire  curtain''  behind  the  enemy  trenches  to  prevent 
reenf orcements  from  arriving.  Such  are  the  tactics  almost  con- 
stantly employed  by  the  Germans. 

Despite  their  most  furious  efforts  during  the  winter  of  1914 
and  the  spring  and  summer  of  1915,  in  at  least  forty  different 
attacks,  the  German  gains  were  very  insignificant,  and  if  one 
considers  the  line  they  held  after  the  battle  of  the  Mame  and 
compares  it  with  their  present  position,  one  may  gather  some 
idea  of  how  little  progress  they  have  made. 

It  was  in  June  and  July,  1915,  that  the  Germans  displayed 
their  main  efforts  in  the  Argonne.  Their  three  great  attacks 
were  made  with  greater  forces  than  ever  before  (two  or  three 
divisions),  but  the  results  w«ere  as  profitless  as  their  prede- 
cessors.   The  heroism  of  the  French  barred  the  way. 

At  Arras  in  June,  there  was  almost  as  much  activity  as  at 
Ypres.  During  the  last  part  of  the  campaign  in  the  Artois, 
General  d'Urbal  began  an  advance  between  Hebuterne  and  Serre. 
The  former  had  been  held  by  the  French  and  the  latter  by  the 
Germans.  The  two  villages  were  each  on  a  small  hill  and  not 
quite  two  miles  apart.  There  were  two  lines  of  German  trenches 
in  front  of  the  farm  of  Tout  Vent  which  was  halfway  between 
the  villages. 


The  trenches  were  held  by  the  Seventeenth  Baden  Regiment 
which  was  attacked  by  the  French  on  June  7,  1915.  The  French 
troops  consisted  of  Bretons,  Vendeans,  and  soldiers  from  Savoy 
and  Dauphine.  The  work  of  the  infantry  was  preceded  by  a 
hesLvy  bombardment  to  which  the  German  artillery  replied. 
Then  the  French  charged  with  a  dash  that  seemed  irresistible. 

On  the  following  day,  June  8,  1915,  the  French  gained  more 
ground  to  the  north  in  spite  of  the  activity  of  the  German  artil- 
lery. June  9,  1915,  saw  desperate  fighting  in  the  German  com- 
municating trenches,  and  on  June  10,  1915,  several  hundred 
yards  of  trenches  to  the  south  were  taken.  The  Seventeenth 
Baden  Regiment  was  only  a  name  and  a  memory  when  the  fight- 
ing ceased ;  and  two  German  battalions  had  fared  but  little  bet- 
ter. Of  the  five  hundred  and  eighty  prisoners  taken  ten  were 
ofl^icers.  ;t 

General  de  Castelnau,  on  the  day  before  the  fighting  at  Hebu- 
terne,  made  a  break  in  the  German  line  east  of  Forest  of  TAlgle 
which  is  a  continuation  of  the  Forest  of  Compiegne  but  is  sepa- 
rated from  it  by  the  Aisne.  Within  the  French  lines  were  the 
farms  of  Ecaffaut  and  Quennevieres.  The  Germans  held  Les 
Loges  and  Tout  Vent.  There  was  a  German  salient  opposite 
Quennevieres  with  a  small  fort  at  the  peak  of  the  salient.  De- 
fenses had  been  built  also  where  the  northern  and  southern  sides 
of  the  salient  rested  on  the  main  line  of  trenches.  There  were 
two  lines  of  trenches  on  the  arc  of  the  salient  with  three  lines 
on  a  portion  of  the  arc.  An  indented  trench  held  the  chord  of  the 
arc.  The  Germans  had  placed  several  guns  in  a  ravine  which  ran 
down  toward  Tout  Vent.  Four  companies  of  the  Eighty-sixth 
^^^Regiment  had  held  the  salient. 

^B  On  June  5,  1915,  the  reserve  troops  were  taken  from  the  Tout 
^KVent  ravine  for  reenforcements.  Their  places  were  occupied  then 
^Bby  other  German  troops.  The  French  artillery  bombarded  the 
^»f ort  at  the  peak  of  the  salient,  and  all  of  the  trenches  and  defenses 
^Bof  the  Germans  in  that  neighborhood  and  the  French  infantry 
^Kkept  up  a  rifle  and  machine-gun  fire  which  was  an  aid  in  prevent- 
^Bing  the  Germans  from  repairing  the  damage  done  their  defenses. 

162  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

in  volume  and  intensity  on  the  morning  of  June  6,  1915.  Then  it 
was  continued  intermittently.  A  mine  under  the  fort  at  the  peak 
of  the  salient  blew  up.  The  Germans  who  sought  refuge  in  their 
dugouts  found  them  unavailing.  The  shells  had  blown  the  roofs 
from  those  places  of  supposed  safety.  In  many  instances  their 
occupants  had  been  buried  in  the  debris  and  suffocated.  The 
French  artillery  lengthened  its  range  and  made  a  curtain  of  fire 
between  the  Germans  on  the  front  and  the  German  supports  in 
the  rear.  Then  the  French  infantry  charged.  The  men  had 
dispensed  with  knapsack  that  they  might  not  be  hampered  with 
unnecessary  weight.  All  had  three  rations  and  two  hundred  and 
fifty  rounds  of  anmiunition.  They  were  also  provided  with  two 
hand  grenades  and  a  sack.  The  last  was  to  be  filled  with  earth. 
The  filled  sacks  were  sufficient  to  form  breastworks  with  which 
any  place  taken  might  be  held.  With  a  cheer  the  French  infantry 
ran  across  the  two  hundred  yards  between  the  two  lines.  The 
German  infantry's  nerves  had  been  so  badly  shaken  by  the 
bombardment  that  only  a  scattering  fire,  badly  directed,  greeted 
the  French.  It  was  but  the  work  of  minutes  to  take  the  first  line 
of  German  trenches.  The  two  hundred  and  fifty  survivors  of 
two  German  battalions  were  made  prisoners.  The  German  re- 
serves in  the  ravine  on  the  Tout  Vent  farm  made  a  dash  to  aid 
their  fire  line;  but  the  French  artillery  shells  accounted  for 
them  before  the  reserves  ever  reached  those  whom  they  would 
have  relieved.  Thus  in  less  than  an  hour  2,000  Germans  were 
put  out  of  the  fight.  The  French  who  had  been  selected  for  this 
work  included  Bretons,  Zouaves,  and  chasseurs. 

The  Zouaves  then  made  a  dash  for  the  ravine  on  the  Tout 
Vent  front.  There  they  came  upon  a  field  work  equipped  with 
three  guns.  This  work  was  protected  by  wire  entanglements. 
The  German  artillerymen  retreated  to  their  dugouts,  but  the 
Zouaves  captured  them  and  their  fortification.  At  that  stage 
of  the  fighting  the  French  aviators  saw  German  reenforcements 
on  their  way  to  take  part  in  the  battle.  The  aviators  signaled  to 
their  troops  this  information.  Two  German  battalions  were  be- 
ing hurried  in  motor  cars  from  Roye  to  the  east  of  the  Oise ;  but 
before  they  reached  the  scene  of  the  fighting  the  Germans  man- 


aged  to  mass  for  a  counterattack.  It  was  ill-planned  and  exe- 
cuted. French  shrapnel  and  machine  guns  annihilated  those 
making  the  counterattack.  In  the  meantime  the  French  sap- 
pers were  fortifying  with  sacks  of  earth  the  ends  of  the  salient; 
so  that  by  night  the  French  were  in  a  position  to  hold  what 
they  had  gained.  The  precautions  which  the  French  had  made 
were  shown  to  be  extremely  timely,  for  that  night  the  reenforce- 
ments  from  Roye  made  eight  desperate  attacks. 

The  lack  of  success  throughout  the  night  did  not  prevent 
the  Germans  from  making  a  reckless  attack  on  the  French 
works  at  both  ends  of  the  salient  on  the  morning  of  June  7. 
The  Germans  made  their  advance  along  the  lines  of  the  communi- 
cating trenches.  They  were  greeted  with  a  shower  of  hand 
grenades.  By  nightfall  the  Germans  seemed  to  have  wearied 
of  the  attacks.  The  total  German  loss  in  killed  in  this  engage- 
ment was  three  thousand.  The  French  had  lost  only  two  hun- 
dred and  fifty  killed  and  fifteen  hundred  wounded.  They  captured 
a  large  amount  of  equipage  and  ammunition,  besides  twenty 
machine  guns. 

The  French  front  south  of  Pont-a-Mousson,  on  the  Moselle, 
through  the  gap  of  Nancy  to  the  tops  of  the  Vosges  experienced 
only  slight  changes  during  the  spring  and  summer  of  1915.  The 
Germans  assumed  the  offensive  in  the  region  of  La  Fontenelle, 
in  the  Ban-de-Sapt,  in  April  and  June.  The  French  engineers 
had  built  a  redoubt  to  the  east  of  La  Fontenelle  on  Hill  627.  The 
Germans  found  they  could  not  take  it  by  an  assault;  so  their 
sappers  went  to  work  to  tunnel  under  it;  but  they  had  to  bore 
through  very  hard  rock  and  the  work  was  necessarily  slow.  The 
French,  learning  of  the  mining  operations  of  their  foes,  started  a 
countereffort  with  the  result  that  there  was  a  succession  of  fierce 
skirmishes  under  the  surface  of  the  earth.  Finally  the  German 
sappers  were  lured  into  a  communicating  tunnel  which  had  been 
mined  for  the  purpose  and  they  all  perished.  The  greatest  activ- 
ity of  the  sappers  was  between  April  6  and  April  13,  1915.  On 
the  night  of  the  latter  date  the  officers  of  the  Germans  tried  to 
rally  their  men  for  further  operations,  but  their  soldiers  had  had 
enough  and  refused  to  renew  their  work. 

164  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

The  Germans,  however,  did  not  give  up  in  their  attempts  to 
take  Hill  627,  which  they  called  Ban-de-Sapt,  and  in  an  assault 
they  made  upon  it  on  June  22  they  took  the  hill.  Thereupon 
the  general  in  command  of  the  Thirtieth  Bavarian  Division  made 
the  following  announcement : 

"I  have  confidence  that  the  height  of  Ban-de-Sapt  will  be 
transformed  with  the  least  possible  delay  into  an  impregnable 
fortification  and  that  the  efforts  of  the  French  to  retake  it  will  be 
bloodily  repulsed." 

On  the  night  of  July  8  the  French  began  a  bombardment  which 
was  followed  by  an  infantry  charge  which  forced  its  way  through 
five  lines  of  trenches  and  gained  the  redoubt  on  the  top  of  the  hill, 
in  spite  of  its  corrugated  iron  and  gun-shield  defenses  to  which 
had  been  added  logs  and  tree  trunks.  At  the  same  time  the 
French  made  an  attack  on  the  German  trenches  on  the  left  and 
surrounded  the  hill  from  the  eastward.  The  Germans  on  the 
right  flank  of  the  French  were  kept  busy  by  another  attack. 
In  this  battle  two  battalions  of  the  Fifth  Bavarian  Ersatz  Bri- 
gade were  taken  from  the  German  ranks  either  by  death  or  as 
prisoners.  The  French  captured  eight  hundred  and  eighty-one, 
of  whom  twenty-one  were  officers,  who,  for  the  most  part,  were 
men  of  more  than  ordinary  education. 

The  principal  work  of  the  French  troops  at  this  time  was  in 
the  valley  of  the  Fecht  and  the  neighboring  mountains.  They 
planned  to  go  down  through  the  valley  to  Miinster  and  take  the 
railroad  to  which  the  mountain  railroads  were  tributaries.  In 
connection  with  this  campaign  in  the  mountains  the  achievement 
of  a  company  of  French  Chasseurs  serves  to  illustrate  the  heroic 
and  hardy  character  of  these  men.  They  were  surrounded  by 
German  troops  on  June  14,  1915,  but  refused  to  surrender.  In- 
stead they  built  a  square  camp  which  they  prepared  to  hold  as 
long  as  one  of  them  remained  alive.  When  their  ammunition 
began  to  give  out,  they  rolled  rocks  down  on  their  enemy  and 
hurled  large  stones  at  the  advancing  foe.  At  the  same  time  the 
French  artillery  aided  them  by  raining  shells  on  the  Germans, 
though  the  artillery  was  miles  from  the  scene  of  action.  Thus 
the  Chasseurfj  w^re  able  to  hold  their  position  until  they  were  re- 


lieved  on  June  17,  1915.  In  the  meantime  the  French  proceeded 
down  the  valley  of  the  Fecht  and  up  the  mountains  overlooking 
the  valley.  An  assault  was  made  on  the  top  of  Braunkopf  and  an 
attack  was  made  on  Anlass  on  June  15  and  16,  1915.  The  French 
captured  Metzeral  on  June  19,  1915,  the  Germans  having  set  fire 
to  it  before  being  driven  out.  The  soldiers  of  the  republic  then 
began  to  bombard  Munster  with  such  success  that  they  destroyed 
a  German  ammunition  depot  there.  The  Sondernach  ridge  was 
held  by  the  French  about  the  middle  of  July,  1915,  and  they  con- 
tinued to  gain  ground  so  that  they  were  near  Munster  by  the 
end  of  July,  1915.  In  these  actions  the  French  mountaineers 
were  pitting  their  skill  against  the  mountaineers  from  Bavaria. 

By  midsummer  the  lines  on  both  sides  of  the  western  front 
were  an  elaborate  series  of  field  fortifications.  The  shallow 
trenches  of  the  preceding  fall  were  practically  things  of  the  past. 
And  these  fortifications  extended  from  the  Vosges  to  the  North 
Sea.  They  naturally  varied  with  the  nature  of  the  region  in 
which  they  were  built.  The  marshy  character  of  the  soil  along 
the  Yser  and  about  the  Ypres  salient  made  it  impossible  to  go 
down  very  deep.  Hence  it  was  necessary  to  build  up  parapets 
which  were  easy  marks  for  the  artillery.  The  Germans  had  the 
better  places  on  the  higher  levels  from  Ypres  to  Armenti^res; 
but  the  British  line  opposing  them  showed  remarkable  engineer- 
ing skill.  The  advances  of  the  Allies  had  resulted  in  making  the 
first  line  of  trenches  somewhat  temporary  in  character  in  the 
sections  about  Festubert,  La  Bassee,  and  the  Artois ;  but  in  these 
'egions  there  were  strong  fortifications  in  the  rear  of  both  lines, 
'he  condition  of  the  ground  from  Arras  to  Compiegne  was  ex- 
jellent  for  fortification  purposes.  The  Teutons  had  the  better 
position  in  the  chalky  region  along  the  Aisne,  though  the  chalk 
formation  did  not  add  to  the  comfort  of  the  men.  In  the  north- 
fern  part  of  Champagne  trench  life  was  more  bearable.  The 
Forests  in  the  Argonne,  the  Woevre,  and  the  Vosges  made  the 
trenches  the  best  of  all  on  the  western  front.  The  greater  part 
►f  these  so-called  trenches,  the  like  of  which  had  never  before 

m  constructed,  could  not  be  taken  without  a  bombardment  by 
heavy  artillery.    And,  in  the  rear  of  each  line  there  was  a  series 

166  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

of  other  fortifications  quite  as  impregnable.  This  condition  was 
a  gradual  growth  which  had  developed  as  a  result  of  the  in- 
creasingly new  methods  of  attack.  As  new  means  of  taking  life 
were  invented,  new  means  of  protection  came  into  existence, 
until,  for  the  present,  the  inventive  genius  of  man  seemed  to  be 
at  a  standstill.  But  all  this  activity  and  preparation  at  the 
front  meant  a  greater  activity  in  the  rear  of  the  opposing  lines. 
Fighting  men  were  a  necessity ;  but,  under  existing  conditions  of 
warfare,  they  were  useless  unless  they  were  kept  supplied  by  an 
army  of  artisans  and  another  army  of  men  to  transport  muni- 
tions to  the  soldiers  on  the  firing  line.  In  fact  it  was  being 
forced  on  the  minds  of  the  commanding  officers  that  the  war 
could  be  won  in  the  workshop  and  laboratory  rather  than  on 
the  battle  field. 



FOR  the  most  part  the  activity  of  the  Belgian  army  in  Febru- 
.  ary,  1915,  consisted  of  a  continuous  succession  of  advanced- 
post  encounters,  in  which  detachments  of  from  thirty  to  forty 
soldiers  fought  with  the  Germans  on  the  narrow  strips  of  land 
which  remained  inundated,  while  the  artillery  of  the  contending 
forces  bombarded  the  trenches  and  the  machine-gun  forts.  The 
intermittent  artillery  duel  continued  through  the  forepart  of 
February,  1915,  and  on  February  14,  1915,  the  Germans  bom- 
barded Nieuport,  Bains  and  the  Dune  trenches,  and  continued  the 
bombardment  on  February  15,  1915,  and  again  on  February 
20,  1915. 

Near  Dixmude  on  February  28,  1915,  the  Belgian  artillery 
demolished  two  of  the  German  trenches,  and  their  infantry  oc- 
cupied a  farm  on  the  right  bank  of  the  Yser.  One  of  their 
aviators  dropped  bombs  on  the  harbor  station  at  Ostend. 

By  the  beginning  of  March,  1915,  strips  of  dry  land  began  to 
be  seen  in  the  flooded  region ;  and,  along  these,  the  Belgians  ad- 


vanced  at  Dixmude  and  the  bend  of  the  Yser.  They  won  addi- 
tional bridgeheads  on  the  northern  bank  of  the  river.  By  the 
middle  of  the  month,  March,  1915,  the  Belgians  had  obtained  a 
strategical  point  by  possessing  Oudstuyvenkerke  on  the  Schoor- 
bakke  highway.  From  there  they  could  force  the  Germans  back 
until  they  were  in  a  position  that  would  prevent  any  German 
action  against  the  Dixmude  bridgehead. 

On  March  18,  1915,  the  Belgian  army  continued  its  progress 
on  the  Yser,  and  on  March  23,  1915,  the  artillery  destroyed  sev- 
eral German  observation  points.  A  division  of  the  Belgian  army 
made  some  progress  on  the  right  bank  of  the  Yser  on  March  24, 
1915;  while  another  was  taking  a  German  trench  on  the  left 
bank.  The  almost  continuous  artillery  fighting  was  more  active 
in  the  Nieuport  region  on  March  26,  1915 ;  and  farther  south  a 
farm  north  of  St.  Georges  in  advance  of  the  allied  lines  was  taken 
and  held. 

But  the  Belgian  army  was  unable  to  take  any  decisive  action 
against  the  left  wing  of  the  German  army  during  the  spring  and 
summer  of  1915,  both  on  account  of  the  wetness  of  the  land  and 
the  activity  of  the  German  artillery.  Yet  it  harassed  the  Ger- 
mans by  so  much  activity  that  the  Teutons  continued  to  add  to 
their  heavy  howitzers  and  large  cahber  naval  guns.  Neverthe- 
less the  Belgian  strategy  gained  for  its  little  army  many  ad- 
vantages of  tactical  importance.  It  seemed  to  be  a  part  of  the 
plan  of  the  Belgian  generals  to  give  their  new  troops,  which  were 
filling  up  the  previously  thinned  ranks,  a  training  under  heavy 
bombardments  without  risking  the  lives  or  liberty  of  many  of 
their  men.  They  held  the  old  cobbled  roads  which  remained 
about  the  waters,  using  an  almost  innumerable  number  of 
trenches  for  that  purpose. 

iThe  Germans  sought  to  obviate  this  check  to  their  activities 
by  approaching  on  rafts  on  which  were  machine  guns,  from 
which  attempts  were  made  to  pour  an  enfilading  fire  on  the 
trenches.  Thereupon  the  Belgian  sharpshooters  became  espe- 
cially active  and  exterminated  the  machine-gun  crews  before 
the  Germans  could  take  advantage  of  the  position  they  had 
gained  by  using  the  rafts. 

168  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Finally  the  waters  subsided  and  the  mud  which  remained 
dried.  As  soon  as  the  ground  became  firm  enough  to  support 
troops  the  Belgians  became  so  active  that  the  Germans  desired 
more  men,  but  their  soldiers  were  also  needed  in  many  other 
sections  of  the  western  front,  and  for  the  time  being  none  could 
be  sent  against  the  Belgians.  Hence  King  Albert's  troops  con- 
tinued to  make  progress. 

The  Germans  made  an  attack  between  Nieuport  and  the  sea  on 
May  9,  1915,  but  were  repulsed.  To  the  north  of  Dixmude  the 
Belgians  were  violently  attacked  during  the  night  of  May  10, 
1915,  by  three  German  battalions.  They  were  repulsed  and 
suffered  large  losses. 

On  the  night  of  May  16,  1915,  the  Germans  threatened  with 
complete  envelopment  by  the  successful  attacks  of  preceding 
days,  evacuated  the  positions  which  they  had  occupied  to  the 
west  of  the  Yser  Canal,  and  they  gained  nothing  on  the  eastern 
bank.  The  Germans  left  about  two  thousand  dead  and  many 
rifles  when  they  were  forced  from  the  western  bank.  On  the 
following  night.  May  17,  1915,  the  positions  on  the  eastern  bank 
were  consolidated,  and  a  German  counterattack,  which  was  pre- 
ceded by  a  bombardment,  was  repulsed.  The  Germans  gained  a 
footing  in  the  trenches  to  the  east  of  the  Yser  Canal  in  an  attack 
made  on  the  night  of  May  20,  1915,  but  they  were  driven  out  and 
lost  some  of  the  ground  they  had  held  before  making  the  attack. 

The  Germans  made  a  violent  attack  on  the  edge  of  the  Belgian 
front  at  Nieuport  in  order  to  prevent  the  Belgians  from  aiding 
in  the  defense  of  Ypres,  but  the  Belgians  defended  Nieuport 
with  one  army  corps  and  made  an  advance  on  Dixmude  with 
another  corps,  with  the  result  that  they  assisted  the  Zouaves  in 
taking  the  German  bridgeheads  on  the  western  bank  of  the  canal 
above  Ypres.  These  bridgeheads  were  protected  by  forts  manned 
by  machine  guns,  and  the  approaches  were  commanded  by  heavy 
artillery  fire,  but  defense  was  destroyed  in  the  middle  of  May, 

The  Germans  concentrated  their  efforts  against  the  Belgians 
at  one  point  between  Ypres  and  Dixmude.  They  bombarded  the 
trenches,  using  bombs  filled  vith  poisonous  gas.     When  they 


believed  the  Belgians  had  been  overcome  by  the  gas  the  German 
infantry  charged.  The  Belgians,  however,  had  kept  their  faces 
close  to  the  ground,  thus  escaping  most  of  the  fumes  from  the 
shells.  When  the  Germans  arrived  within  easy  range  they  were 
greeted  with  machine-gun  fire  to  such  an  extent  that  the  com- 
panies leading  the  charge  were  slain. 

A  battalion  of  Belgian  troops  on  June  14,  1915,  gained  the 
east  bank  of  the  Yser  south  of  the  Dixmude  railroad  bridge,  and 
established  themselves  there.  The  Belgians  also  destroyed  a 
German  blockhouse  in  the  vicinity  of  the  Chateau  of  Dixmude. 
The  Belgian  troops,  south  of  St.  Georges,  captured  a  German 
trench,  all  the  defenders  of  which  were  killed  or  made  prisoners 
on  June  22,  1915. 

After  the  canal  line  was  won,  and  the  Belgians  were  in  posi- 
tion to  hold  it,  they  could  make  little  headway  eastward.  Their 
advance  was  checked  by  a  series  of  batteries  which  were  con- 
cealed in  the  Forest  of  Houthulst.  These  batteries,  containing 
many  guns  of  large  caliber,  continued  to  shell  the  Belgian 
trenches  to  such  an  extent  that  it  was  necessary  for  their  in- 
habitants to  keep  close  to  the  bomb-proof  chambers  with  which 
the  trenches  were  liberally  supplied.  But  the  Belgians  kept  so 
many  of  the  German  troops  occupied  that,  in  this  way,  they  gave 
great  aid  to  their  allies,  and  enabled  the  French  and  British  to 
regain  much  of  the  territory  which  was  lost  in  the  first  attack 
which  the  Germans  made  with  poisonous  gas.  The  remainder 
of  the  summer  was  occupied  with  intermittent  artillery  duels 
and  minor  engagements  between  the  opposing  trench  lines.  In 
the  meantime  the  Belgian  army  was  adding  to  the  number  of  it? 
troops  and  gathering  munitions  for  an  aggressive  movements 



THE      WAR     ZONE 

THE  war  on  the  seas,  with  the  long-expected  battle  between 
the  fleets  of  the  great  nations,  developed  during  the  second 
six  months  of  the  war  into  a  strange  series  of  adventures.  The 
fleets  of  the  British  and  the  Germans  stood  like  huge  phantoms 
— ^the  first  enshrouded  in  mystery  somewhere  in  the  Irish  and 
North  Seas;  the  second  held  in  leash  behind  the  Kiel  Canal, 
awaiting  the  opportune  moment  to  make  its  escape. 

These  tense,  waiting  days  were  broken  by  sensational  and 
spectacular  incidents — ^not  so  much  through  the  sea  fights  of 
great  modem  warships  as  through  the  adventures  of  the  raiders 
on  the  seven  seas,  the  exploits  of  the  submarines,  and  the  daring 
attempt  of  the  allied  fleets  to  batter  down  the  mighty  forts  in 
the  Dardanelles  and  bombard  their  way  toward  Constantinople 
— ^the  coveted  stronghold  of  the  Ottoman  Empire.  The  several 
phases  of  these  naval  operations  are  described  in  special  chap- 
ters in  this  volume,  therefore  We  will  now  confine  ourselves  to 
the  general  naval  developments. 

In  the  spring  of  1915  the  threat  made  by  Admiral  von  Tirpitz 
that  Germany  would  carry  on  war  against  British  and  allied 
shipping  by  sinking  their  vessels  with  submarines,  was  made 
effective.  The  submersible  craft  began  to  appear  on  all  the 
coasts  of  the  British  Isles.  It  infested  the  Irish  Sea  to  such  an 
extent  that  shipping  between  England  and  Ireland  was  seriously 

A  particularly  daring  raid  took  place  on  the  night  of 
February   1,   1915,   when   a  number   of  submarines  tried   to 


THE    WAR   ZONE  171 

scuttle  ships  lying  at  Dover.    The  attack  failed,  but  drew  fire 
from  the  guns  of  the  fort  here.* 

On  the  5th  of  February,  1915,  the  German  Naval  Staff  an- 
nounced that  beginning  February  18,  1915,  the  waters  around 
Great  Britain  would  be  considered  a  "war  zone."  This  was  in 
retaliation  for  the  blockade  maintained  against  Germany  by  the 
British  navy.    The  proclamation  read  as  follows: 

'The  waters  round  Great  Britain  and  Ireland,  including  the 
whole  of  the  English  Channel,  are  herewith  proclaimed  a  war 

'*0n  and  after  February  18,  1915,  every  enemy  merchant 
vessel  found  in  this  war  region  will  be  destroyed  without  its 
always  being  possible  to  warn  the  crew  or  passengers  of  the 
dangers  threatening. 

"Neutral  ships  will  also  incur  danger  in  the  war  region,  where, 
in  view  of  the  misuse  of  the  neutral  flags  ordered  by  the  British 
Government  and  incidents  inevitable  in  sea  warfare,  attacks 
intended  for  hostile  ships  may  affect  neutral  ships  also. 

"The  sea  passage  to  the  north  of  the  Shetland  Islands  and  the 
eastern  region  of  the  North  Sea  in  a  zone  of  at  least  thirty  miles 
along  the  Netherlands  coast  is  not  menaced  by  any  danger. 

"(Signed)      Berlin,  February  4,  1915,  Chief  of  Naval  Staff, 

Von  Pohl." 

The  effect  of  this  proclamation,  which  was  in  truth  nothing 
more  than  official  sanction  for  the  work  that  the  submarines  had 
been  doing  for  some  weeks,  and  which  they  continued  to  do,  wa» 
to  bring  Germany  into  diplomatic  controversy  with  neutral 
countries,  particularly  the  United  States;  such  controversy  is 
taken  up  in  a  different  chapter  of  this  history.  In  connection 
with  the  naval  history  of  the  Great  War  it  suffices  to  say  that 
such  a  proclamation  constituted  a  precedent  in  naval  history. 
The  submarine  had  heretofore  been  an  untried  form  of  war 
craft.  The  rule  had  formerly  been  that  a  merchantman  stopped 
by  an  enemy's  warship  was  subject  to  search  and  seizure,  and, 
if  it  offered  no  resistance,  was  taken  to  one  of  the  enemy's  ports 

*  See  chapter  on  "Exploits  of  the  Submarines." 





WAR  zorsE 
GERMANY  FEB.\8.l<9l? 

^^  .  ',  I  \S^ETL*\NO  >*. 



THE    WAR   ZONE  173 

as  a  prize.  If  it  offered  resistance  it  might  be  summarily  sunk. 
But  it  was  impossible  for  submarines  to  take  ships  into  port  on 
account  of  the  patrols  of  allied  warships ;  and  the  limited  quar- 
ters of  submarines  made  it  impossible  to  take  aboard  them  the 
crews  of  ships  which  they  sank. 

Reference  made  to  the  use  of  neutral  flags  quoted  in  the  Ger- 
man proclamation  had  been  induced  by  the  fact  that  certain  of 
the  British  merchant  ships,  after  Germany  had  begun  to  send 
them  to  the  bottom  whenever  one  of  its  submarines  caught  up 
with  them  had  gone  through  the  waters  where  the  submarines 
operated  flying  the  flag  of  the  United  States  and  other  neutral 
powers  in  order  to  deceive  the  commanders  of  the  submarines. 
The  latter  had  little  time  to  do  more  than  take  a  brief  observa- 
tion of  merchantmen  which  they  sank,  and  one  of  the  first  things 
they  sought  was  the  nationality  of  the  flag  that  the  intended 
victims  carried;  unless  they  could  be  sure  of  the  identity  of  a 
ship  through  familiarity  with  the  lines  of  her  hull,  they  ran  the 
risk,  in  attacking  a  ship  flying  a  neutral  flag,  of  sinking  a  vessel 
belonging  to  a  neutral  power. 

Here  was  another  matter  that  opened  up  diplomatic  exchanges 
between  Germany  and  the  United  States,  and  between  the  United 
States  and  England.    It  suffices  here  to  give  not  only  the  con- 
troversy or  the  points  involved,  but  the  record  of  events.    The 
first  use  of  the  flag  of  a  neutral  country  by  a  ship  belonging  to 
one  of  the  belligerents  in  the  Great  War  occurred  on  January  31, 
1915,  when  the  Cunard  liner  Orduna  carried  the  American  flag 
at  her  forepeak  in  journeying  from  Liverpool  to  Queenstown. 
She  again  did  so  on  February  1,  1915,  when  she  left  the  latter 
>ort  for  New  York.     And  another  notable  instance  was  on 
'ebruary  11,  1915,  when  the  Liisitania,  another  Cunard  liner, 
irrived  at  Liverpool  flying  the  American  flag  in  obedience  to 
orders  issued  by  the  British  admiralty.    It  was  only  the  prom- 
lence  of  these  vessels  which  gave  them  notoriety  in  this  regard ; 
le  same  practice  was  indulged  in  by  many  smaller  ships. 
"What  will  happen  after  the  18th?''  was  the  one  important 
[uestion  asked  during  February,  1915,  by  the  public  of  the 
leutral  as  well  as  belligerent  countries. 

174  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

February  18,  1915,  arrived  and  saw  Von  Pohl's  proclamation 
go  into  effect,  and  from  that  date  onward  the  toll  of  ships  sunk, 
both  of  neutral  and  belligerent  countries,  grew  longer  daily. 

But  before  the  German  submarines  could  begin  the  new  cam- 
paign, those  of  the  British  navy  became  active,  and  it  was  ad- 
mitted in  Berlin  on  February  15,  1915,  that  British  submarines 
had  made  their  way  into  the  Baltic,  through  the  sound  between 
Sweden  and  Denmark,  where  they  attacked  the  German  cruiser 
Gazelle  unsuccessfully. 

Nor  was  the  British  navy  inactive  in  other  ways,  though  it 
had  been  greatly  discredited  by  the  fact  that  the  German  sub- 
marines were  playing  havoc  with  British  shipping  right  at 
England's  door.  A  fleet  of  two  battleships  and  several  cruisers 
drew  up  off  Westende  and  bombarded  the  German  trenches  on 
the  4th  of  February,  1915. 

Only  one  day  after  the  war-zone  proclamation  went  into  effect 
the  Allies  brought  out  their  trump  card  for  the  spring  of  1915. 



BY  the  middle  of  February,  1915,  the  Allies  completed  the 
arrangement  for  the  naval  attack  on  the  Dardanelles.  The 
military  part  of  the  campaign  in  these  regions  is  treated  in  the 
chapter  on  the  "Campaign  in  the  Dardanelles" ;  hence  we  must 
confine  ourselves  at  present  to  the  general  naval  affairs.  The 
naval  operations  began  with  the  concentration  in  the  adjacent 
waters  of  a  powerful  fleet  consisting  of  both  French  and  British 

The  ships  engaged  were  the  Queen  Elizabeth,  with  her  main 
battery  of  15-inch  guns,  the  Inflexible,  veteran  of  the  fight  off 
the  Falkland  Islands,  the  Agamemnon,  Cornwallis,  Triumph, 
and  Vengeance.  In  addition  to  these  British  ships  there  were 
the  French  battleships  Suffren,  Gaulois,  and  Bouvet,  and  a  fleet 


of  destroyers.  The  senior  British  officer  was  Vice  Admiral 
Sackville  Garden,  and  the  French  commander  was  Admiral 
Guepratte.  A  new  "mother  ship*'  for  a  squadron  of  seaplanes 
was  also  part  of  the  naval  force;  this  was  the  ship  Ark  Royal. 
At  eight  in  the  morning  on  February  19,  1915,  this  powerful 
fleet  started  "The  Great  Attempt." 

After  bombarding  the  Turkish  forts  till  three  in  the  afternoon 
without  receiving  a  single  reply  from  the  guns  of  the  forts,  the 
warships  ceased  firing  and  went  in  closer  to  the  shore,  the  allied 
commanders  believing  that  the  forts  had  not  replied  because 
they  all  had  been  put  out  of  action.  The  fallacy  of  this  belief 
was  discovered  when,  at  the  shortened  range,  shells  began  to 
fall  about  the  ships.  None  was  hit;  when  dusk  came  on  they 

Stormy  weather  prevented  further  action  on  the  part  of  the 
warships  for  almost  a  week,  but  on  February  25,  1915,  they 
resumed  their  bombardment.  The  Irresistible  and  Albion  had 
by  then  joined  the  other  British  ships,  and  the  Charlemagne  had 
augmented  the  French  force. 

At  ten  o'clock  in  the  morning  of  February  25,  1915,  the  Queen 
Elizabeth,  Gaulois,  Irresistible,  and  Agamemnon  began  to  fire 
on  the  forts  Sedd-el-Bahr,  Orkanieh,  Kum  Kale,  and  Cape  Hellas 
— ^the  outer  forts — at  long  range,  and  drew  replies  from  the 
Turkish  guns.  It  was  out  of  all  compliance  with  naval  tradition 
for  warships  to  stand  and  engage  land  fortifications,  for  lessons 
learned  by  naval  authorities  from  the  Spanish- American  and 

i Russo-Japanese  wars  had  established  precedents;  which  pro- 
hibited it.  But  here  the  larger  warships  were  carrying  heavier 
^ns  than  those  in  the  forts.  Whereas  the  Queen  Elizabeth  car- 
ried 15-inch  guns,  the  largest  of  the  Turkish  guns  measured  only 
p.2  inches. 
At  11.30  o'clock  in  the  morning  of  February  25,  1915,  the 
Agamemnon  was  hit  with  a  shell  which  had  traveled  six  miles, 
but  it  did  not  damage  her  beyond  repair.  Meanwhile  the  Queen 
Elizabeth  had  silenced  Cape  Hellas,  firing  from  a  distance  far 
beyond  the  range  of  the  forts'  guns.  And  then,  just  before  noon, 
and  after  the  larger  ship  had  silenced  the  main  battery  at  Cape 

12_War  St.  3 

176  THE   STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Hellas,  the  ships  Vengeance  and  Cornwallis  dashed  in  at  shorter 
range  and  destroyed  the  minor  batteries  there.  The  Suffren  and 
Charlemagne  also  took  part  in  this  phase  of  the  engagement, 
and  later,  in  the  afternoon,  the  Triumph  and  Albion  concen- 
trated fire  on  Sedd-el-Bahr,  silencing  its  last  guns  by  five  o'clock 
in  the  evening. 

The  larger  ships  needed  the  respite  during  the  night  of 
February  25,  1915,  while  trawlers,  which  had  been  brought  down 
from  the  North  Sea  for  the  purpose,  began  to  sweep  the  entrance 
to  the  forts  for  mines,  and  cleared  enough  of  them  out  by  thf 
morning  of  the  26th  to  enable  the  Majestic — which  had  by  then 
joined  the  fleet — and  the  Albion  and  Vengeance  to  steam  in  be- 
tween the  flanking  shores  and  fire  at  the  forts  on  the  Asiatic  side. 
It  was  known  by  the  allied  commanders  that  they  might  expect 
return  fire  from  Fort  Dardanos,  but  this  they  did  not  fear,  for 
they  knew  that  its  heaviest  gun  measured  but  5.9  inches.  But 
they  had  a  surprise  when  concealed  batteries  near  by,  the  pres- 
ence of  which  had  not  been  suspected,  suddenly  began  to  fire. 
Believing  now  that  the  Turks  were  abandoning  the  forts  at  the 
entrance,  the  allied  ships  covered  the  landing  of  parties  of 

Long-range  firing  had  by  the  end  of  February  26,  1915,  en- 
abled the  allied  fleets  to  silence  the  outer  forts  and  to  clear  their 
way  to  the  straits.  They  now  had  to  take  up  the  task  of  destroy- 
ing the  real  defenses  of  the  Dardanelles — ^the  forts  at  the  Nar- 
rows, and  this  was  a  harder  task,  for  long-range  firing  was  no 
longer  possible.  The  guns  of  the  forts  and  those  of  the  ships 
would  be  meeting  on  a  more  equal  basis. 

But  this  was  not  to  be  essayed  at  once,  for  more  rough  weather 
kept  the  fleets  from  using  their  guns  effectively,  their  trawlers 
continued  to  sweep  the  waters  for  mines  near  the  Narrows.  By 
March  3,  1915,  however,  the  commanders  were  ready  to  resume 
operations.  The  Lord  Nelson  and  the  Ocean  had  by  then  also 
arrived  on  the  scene,  and  in  the  subsequent  operations  were  hit 
a  number  of  times  by  the  Turkish  guns ;  and  the  Canopus,  Swift- 
sure,  Prince  George,  and  Sapphire,  though  they  did  not  report 
being  hit,  were  also  known  to  have  been  present. 


The  new  "eyes"  of  the  fleets  located  new  and  concealed  bat- 
teries placed  in  position  by  the  Turks,  and  at  two  o'clock  in  the 
afternoon  of  February  3,  1915,  they  ascended  to  direct  the  fire 
of  the  ships'  guns  by  signal.  The  bombardment  was  kept  up  till 
darkness  fell,  but  it  was  resumed  on  the  next  day. 

On  March  4,  1915,  the  Queen  Elizabeth,  so  great  was  the  range 
of  her  guns,  was  able  to  reach  the  forts  Hamadieh  I,  Tabia,  and 
Hamadieh  II,  firing  across  the  Gallipoli  Peninsula.  Three  times 
she  was  hit  by  shells  from  field  pieces  lying  between  her  and  her 
target,  but  no  great  damage  was  done  to  her.  While  her  guns 
roared  out,  the  Suffren,  Albion,  Prince  George,  Vengeance,  and 
Majestic  went  inside  the  straits  and  had  attacked  the  forts  at 
Soundere,  Mount  Dardanos,  and  Rumili  Medjidieh  Tabia,  and 
were  fired  upon  by  Turkish  guns  from  the  forts  and  from  con- 
cealed batteries  which  struck  these  ships,  but  not  a  man  was 
killed  or  a  ship  put  out  of  action. 

March  7,  1915,  the  Agamemnon  and  Lord  Nelson  attacked  the 
forts  at  the  Narrows,  their  bombardment  being  covered  by 
the  four  French  battleships.  All  of  the  ships  were  struck,  but 
again  none  of  them  was  put  out  of  action.  After  heavy 
shelling  forts  Rumili  Medjidieh  Tabia  and  Hamadieh  I  were 

While  these  operations  were  going  on,  another  British  fleet, 
consisting  of  battleships  and  cruisers,  on  March  5,  1915,  began 
an  attack  on  Smyrna.  For  two  hours,  and  in  fine,  clear  weather, 
Fort  Yeni  Kale  was  damaged  after  being  subjected  to  heavy 
bombardment,  but  it  was  not  silenced  when  dusk  interrupted  the 

Little  was  accomplished  for  some  days  afterward.  Some  of 
the  forts  which  had  been  reported  silenced  were  getting  ready 
to  resume  firing;  their  silence  had  been  due  to  the  fact  that  the 
defenders  often  had  to  leave  their  guns  while  the  gases  generated 
by  the  firing  cleared  off,  and  they  had  also  thought  it  wiser  to 
conserve  ammunition  rather  than  fire  ineffective  shots.  Sedd-el- 
Bahr  and  Kum  Kale  were  able  to  resume  firing  in  a  few  days,  for 
though  the  shells  of  the  allied  fleets  had  damaged  the  structural 
parts  of  these  defenses,  they  had  not  landed  troop.^  out  to  occupy 

178  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

them,  with  the  result  that  the  Turks  were  enabled  to  intrench 
near  the  ruins  and  there  reset  their  guns. 

On  the  morning  of  March  15,  1915,  the  small  British  cruiser 
Amethyst  made  a  dash  into  the  Narrows,  which  when  reported 
led  the  British  and  French  public  to  believe  that  the  defense  had 
been  forced,  but,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  this  exploit  was  a  bit  of 
stratagem,  being  only  designed  to  draw  the  fire  of  concealed 

On  March  18,  1915,  "The  Great  Effort"  was  made  to  force  the 
defenses  with  naval  operations,  all  previous  work  having  been 
preliminary.  The  battleships  Agamemnon,  Prince  George, 
Queen  Elizabeth,  Lord  Nelson,  Triumph,  and  Inflexible  steamed 
right  up  to  the  Narrows.  Four  of  them  bombarded  Chanak  and 
a  battery  which  lay  opposite  it,  and  the  forts  at  Saghandere, 
Kephez  Point,  and  Dardanos  were  kept  busy  by  the  Triumph 
and  the  Prince  George,  After  the  fleet  had  been  at  it  for  an  hour 
and  a  half  they  received  the  support  of  the  four  French  ships 
which  steamed  in  close  and  attacked  the  forts  at  a  shorter  range. 
When  the  forts  ceased  firing  the  six  battleships  Ocean,  Swift- 
sure,  Majestic,  Albion,  Irresistible,  and  Vengeance  came  in  and 
tried  to  carry  the  attack  further.  While  the  French  squadron 
maneuvered  to  allow  freedom  of  action  for  this  newer  British 
squadron  the  Turkish  guns  resumed  fire.  Then  came  the  first 
of  a  series  of  disasters.  Three  shells  struck  the  Bouvet,  and  she 
soon  began  to  keel  over.  When  the  underwater  part  of  her  hull 
came  into  view  it  was  seen  that  she  had  been  hit  underneath, 
probably  by  one  of  the  mines  which  the  Turks  had  floated  toward 
the  crowded  ships.  She  sank  almost  immediately,  carrying  the 
greater  part  of  her  crew  down  with  her.  Only  two  hours  later 
r.nother  mine  did  damage  to  the  Irresistible,  and  she  left  the 
line,  listing  heavily.  While  she  floated  and  while  she  was  under 
heavy  fire  from  Turkish  guns  a  destroyer  took  off  her  crew.  She 
sank  just  before  six  o'clock.  Not  fifteen  minutes  later  the  Ocean 
became  the  third  victim  of  a  floating  mine,  and  she  also  went  to 
the  bottom.  Destroyers  rescued  many  of  her  crew  from  the 
water.  The  guns  from  the  forts  were  also  able  to  do  damage ;  the 
Gaulois  had  been  hit  again  and  again,  with  the  result  that 


she  had  a  hole  in  her  hull  and  her  upper  works  were  damaged 
badly.  Fire  had  broken  out  on  the  Inflexible,  and  a  number  of 
her  officers  and  crew  had  been  either  killed  or  wounded.  The 
day  ended  with  the  forts  still  able  to  return  a  lively  fire  to  all 
attacks,  and  "The  Great  Attempt"  on  the  part  of  the  allied  fleets 
had  failed. 

On  the  other  end  of  the  passage  there  had  also  been  some  naval 
operations,  when,  on  March  28,  1915,  the  Black  Sea  Fleet  of  the 
Russian  navy  had  bombarded  the  forts  on  the  Bosphorous. 
Smyrna  was  again  attacked  on  April  6,  1915.  The  operations  of 
allied  submarines  were  the  next  phases  of  the  attack  on  the 
Dardanelles  to  be  reported.  The  E-5  grounded  near  Kephez 
Point  on  April  17,  1915,  but  before  she  could  be  captured  by  the 
Turks  picket  boats  from  the  allied  fleet  rescued  her  crew  and  then 
destroyed  her.  It  was  just  two  months  now  since  the  naval 
operations  had  begun  at  the  Dardanelles ;  it  was  seen  then  that 
all  attempts  to  take  them  by  naval  operations  alone  must  fail  as 
did  the  attack  of  March  18,  1915. 



THE  next  important  event  in  the  naval  history  of  the  war  oc- 
curred in  far-distant  waters.  On  March  10,  1915,  there  ended 
the  wonderful  career  of  the  German  auxiliary  cruiser  Prinz 
Eitel  Friedrich,  Captain  Thierichens,  which  on  that  date  put  in 
at  the  American  port  of  Newport  News,  Va.,  for  repairs,  after 
making  the  harbor  in  spite  of  the  watch  kept  on  it  by  Britislr 
cruisers.  She  brought  with  her  more  than  500  persons,  200  of 
them  being  her  own  crew,  and  the  remainder  being  passengers 
and  crews  of  French,  British,  Russian,  and  American  ships  that 
had  been  her  victims  in  her  roving  over  30,000  miles  of  the 
Atlantic  and  Pacific  oceans  since  leaving  Tsing,-tau  seven  months 

180  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

She  had  sent  eight  merchant  ships  to  the  bottom,  one  of  them 
being  the  William  P,  Frye,  an  American  vessel  carrying  wheat, 
three  British  ships,  three  flying  the  French  flag,  and  one  Russian 
ship.  Their  total  tonnage  came  to  18,245.  The  fact  that  she 
had  sunk  an  American  ship  on  the  high  seas  opened  up  still 
another  diplomatic  controversy  between  Germany  and  the 
United  States,  which  cannot  be  treated  here. 

When  she  left  Tsing-tau  she  took  as  her  crew  the  men  from 
the  German  gunboats  Tiger  and  Luchs,  and  had  their  four  4.1-inch 
and  some  of  their  one-pounder  guns  as  her  armament.  Soon 
afterward  she  stopped  the  British  ship  Schargost  and  expected 
to  refill  her  coal  bunkers  from  those  of  the  merchantman,  but  in 
this  she  was  disappointed,  for  those  of  the  latter  were  almost 
empty.  Her  next  victim  was  a  French  sailing  vessel,  Jean,  and 
on  board  this  was  found  a  pleasant  surprise  for  the  German 
raider,  for  the  vessel  was  laden  with  coal.  Captain  Thierichens 
had  her  towed  1,500  miles,  to  Easter  Island,  where  the  coal  was 
transferred  to  the  bunkers  of  the  Eitel  Friedrich,  and  the  crews 
of  her  first  three  victims  were  put  ashore.  These  marooned  men 
were  burdens  to  the  white  inhabitants  of  the  island,  for  there 
was  not  too  much  food  for  the  extra  forty-eight  mouths.  Finally, 
on  February  26,  1915,  the  Swedish  ship  Nordic  saw  them  signal- 
ing from  the  island  and  took  them  off,  landing  them  at  Panama 
on  the  day  after  the  Prinz  Eitel  Friedrich  entered  Newport 

By  the  beginning  of  December,  1914,  the  German  raider  was 
in  the  South  Atlantic,  and  while  there  heard  wireless  messages 
exchanged  between  the  ships  of  the  British  fleet  that  took  part 
in  the  battle  off  the  Falkland  Islands.  The  bark  Isabella  Browne, 
flying  the  Russian  flag,  was  the  next  ship  overtaken  by  the  Eitel 
Friedrich,  on  January  26,  1915.  She  was  boarded  and  all  of  her 
provisions  and  stores  were  removed  to  the  German  ship;  after 
her  crew  and  their  personal  effects  were  taken  aboard  the  Ger- 
man ship  she  was  dynamited  and  sank.  On  that  same  morning 
the  French  ship  Pierre  Loti  was  sighted,  and  while  the  Prinz 
Eitel  Friedrich  put  an  end  to  her,  after  first  taking  off  her  crew, 
the  captive  crew  of  the  Isabella  Browne  was  sent  below,  but  was 


allowed  to  come  on  deck  to  watch  the  sinking  of  the  French  ship. 
The  American  ship  William  P.  Frye  was  sunk  soon  afterward, 
and  her  crew,  also,  was  made  part  of  the  party  on  board  the 
raider.  After  sinking  the  French  bark  Jacobsen  the  Prinz  Eitel 
Friedrich  stopped  the  Thalasia  on  February  8,  1915,  and  let  her 
go  on  her  way,  but  on  February  18  the  British  ships  Cindracoe 
and  Mary  Ada  Scott  were  sunk.  On  the  19th  the  French  steamer 
Floride  was  overtaken  off  the  coast  of  Brazil ;  all  persons  aboard 
her  were  transferred  to  the  German  ship  and  most  of  her  pro- 
visions were  also  taken  aboard  the  latter ;  the  Floride,  the  largest 
steamer  destroyed  by  the  German  ship,  v^as  set  afire  and  left  to 
bum.  On  February  20, 1915,  the  British  ship  Willerby  was  over- 
taken and  nearly  sank  the  Prinz  Eitel  Friedrich  before  being 
boarded.  As  the  German  ship  passed  across  the  stern  of  the 
other  at  a  short  distance  the  British  captain,  knowing  that  the 
end  of  his  own  ship  was  near,  decided  to  take  his  captor  down 
with  him.  He  tried  to  ram  the  German  ship  with  the  stern  of  his 
ship,  but  failed  in  the  attempt. 

On  the  evening  of  February  20,  1915,  the  wireless  operator  of 
the  Prinz  Eitel  Friedrich  heard  British  cruisers  "talking"  with 
each  other,  one  of  them  being  the  Berwick,  The  German  cap- 
tain now  saw  that  his  long  raiding  cruise  was  up,  for  though  he 
could  replenish  his  stores  and  bunkers  from  captured  ships  he 
could  not  make  the  many  repairs  which  his  vessel  needed.  To 
put  them  off  at  a  neutral  port  or  to  let  them  go  in  one  of  the  ships 
he  captured  would  mean  that  his  position  would  be  reported  to 
British  ships  within  a  week.  He  therefore  decided  to  end  his 
raiding  and  put  in  at  Newport  News.    His  vessel  was  interned 

I  in  the  American  port. 
We  may  now  return  to  the  story  of  the  blockade  against  Ger- 
many and  the  retaliation  she  sought.  The  Allies  were  now  stop- 
ping as  much  shipping  on  its  way  to  Germany  as  they  dared 
without  bringing  on  trouble  with  neutral  powers.  The  Dacia, 
formerly  a  German  merchantman,  was  taken  over,  after  the 
outbreak  of  the  war,  by  an  American  citizen  and  sailed  from  New 
Orleans  for  Rotterdam  with  a  cargo  of  cotton  on  February  12, 
1915.  She  was  stopped  by  a  French  warship  and  taken  to  a 

182  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

French  port  February  27,  1915,  and  there  held  till  the  matter  of 
the  validity  of  her  transfer  of  registry  could  be  settled. 

On  the  other  hand  the  German  submarine  exploits  continued 
and  found  among  their  victims  a  British  warship,  along  with  the 
many  merchantmen.  On  March  11,  1915,  the  British  auxiliary 
cruiser  Bayano,  while  on  patrol  duty  became  the  victim  of  a 
German  torpedo  off  the  Scotch  coast.  She  went  down  almost 
immediately,  carrying  with  her  the  greater  part  of  her  crew. 

But  not  always  were  the  submarines  immune.  Only  the  day 
before  the  British  destroyer  Ariel  rammed  the  German  sub- 
marine U-12  and  sent  her  to  the  bottom,  after  rescuing  her 
crew.  She  was  of  an  older  type,  built  in  1911,  of  submarine,  and 
had  played  an  active  part  in  the  raiding  in  British  waters.  On 
February  21,  1915,  she  had  sunk  the  Irish  coasting  steamer 
Downshire  in  the  Irish  Sea,  and  her  destruction  was  particu- 
larly welcome  in  British  shipping  circles. 

Once  more  an  incident  in  the  naval  warfare  of  the  Great  War 
was  to  involve  diplomatic  exchanges  between  the  belligerents 
and  the  United  States.  The  African  liner  Falaba,  a  British  ship 
on  her  way  from  Liverpool  to  Lisbon,  was  torpedoed  in  St. 
George's  Channel  on  the  afternoon  of  March  28,  1915.  She  had 
as  one  of  her  passengers  an  American,  L.  C.  Thrasher,  who  lost 
his  life  when  the  ship  sank. 

The  naval  warfare  was  proceeding  like  a  game  of  checkers. 
When  on  March  14,  1915,  there  came  the  end  of  still  another  of 
the  German  raiding  cruisers,  the  Dresden.  She  was  a  cruiser 
built  in  1907  and  having  a  displacement  of  3,544  tons.  Her 
speed  was  good — 24.5  knots — and  her  armament  of  ten  4.1-inch 
guns  and  eight  5-pounder  guns  made  her  quite  a  match  for 
enemy  warships  of  her  class  and  superior  as  for  merchant- 
men. She  was  a  sister  ship  to  that  other  famous  raider  the 
Emden.  In  1909  she  had  taken  her  place  among  the  other 
foreign  warships  in  the  line  in  the  Hudson  River,  participating 
in  the  Hudson-Fulton  Celebration.  In  the  spring  of  1914  she 
was  in  the  neighborhood  of  Central  America  and  rescued  a 
number  of  foreign  refugees  who  fled  from  Mexico,  and  also  took 
Senor  Huerta  from  Puerto  Mexico. 


I  fr, 


She  was  still  in  that  neighborhood  when  the  war  broke  out, 
and  was  immediately  sought  after  by  British  and  French  war- 
ships which  were  near  by.  She  managed  to  get  away  from  these 
pursuers  and  sank  the  British  steamers  Hyades  and  Holmwood 
off  the  Brazilian  coast  during  the  latter  part  of  August,  1914. 
She  then  went  south,  rounded  the  Horn  and  joined  the  other 
ships  under  command  of  Admiral  Von  Spee,  taking  part  in  the 
battle  off  Coronel,  on  November  1,  1914. 

She  remained  with  that  squadron  and  took  part  in  a  second 
battle — that  off  the  Falkland  Islands — on  December  8,  1914. 
When  Admiral  von  Spee  saw  that  he  had  little  chance  of  winning 
the  battle  he  gave  orders  that  the  lighter  ships  should  leave  the 
line  and  seek  safety  in  flight.  The  Dresden  was  one  of  the 
ships  which  escaped,  to  the  chagrin  of  the  British  Admiral.  She 
then  turned  "raider." 

Five  days  later,  on  December  13,  1914,  she  had  appeared  off 
Punta  Arenas,  in  the  Straits  of  Magellan,  stopped  at  that  port 
long  enough  to  take  on  some  provisions  and  put  to  sea  again, 
with  British  and  Japanese  warships  on  her  trail.  She  was  too 
closely  hunted  to  be  able  to  sink  many  ships,  but  during  the  week 
of  March  12,  1915,  she  sank  the  British  steamer  Conway  Casfle, 
off  the  coast  of  Chile,  and  took  coal  and  provisions  from  the> 
two  German  steamers  Alda  and  Sierra  Cordoba. 

On  March  14,  1915,  she  was  sighted  by  the  British  cruisers 
Glasgow,  Kent  and  Orama  near  Juan  Fernandez  Island.  What 
then  ensued  is  in  doubt,  owing  to  conflicting  reports  made  by 
the  senior  British  officer  and  by  the  captain  of  the  German 
cruiser.  The  latter  insisted  that,  seeing  his  ship  was  at  the  end 
of  her  career,  he  ordered  his  men  to  leave  her  and  then  blew 
her  up.    The  former  declared  that  shots  were  exchanged,  that 

e  was  set  afire  and  was  otherwise  badly  damaged  by  the 

ritish  fire.  At  any  rate,  she  was  destroyed,  and  all  of  her  men 
were  saved.    It  was  estimated  that  the  amount  of  damage  she 

flicted  on  allied  trade  amounted  to  $1,250,000. 

Thus  at  the  end  of  March,  1915,  only  the  Karlsruhe  and  Kron- 

rinz  Wilhelm,  of  the  eleven  German  warships  that  were  detached 

from  the  main  German  fleet  in  the  North  Sea  at  the  outbreak  of 

184  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT    WAR 

the  war,  and  of  the  few  ships  which  slipped  out  of  various  ports 
as  converted  auxiliary  cruisers,  were  still  at  large  on  the  high 

Naval  activity  in  the  northern  waters  of  Europe  did  not  abate. 
The  British  admiralty  on  March  25,  1915,  had  announced  that 
the  German  submarine  U-29,  one  of  the  most  improved  craft  of 
the  type  in  use,  had  been  sunk.  This  loss  was  admitted  by  the 
German  admiralty  on  April  7,  1915.  It  was  a  serious  loss  to 
the  German  navy,  for  its  commander  was  Otto  von  Weddigen, 
he  who,  in  the  Z7-P,  had  sent  the  Cressy,  Aboukir  and  Hogue  to 
the  bottom  in  September,  1914. 

The  naval  warfare  at  the  Dardanelles  proceeded  in  the  same 
desultory  fashion.  A  Turkish  torpedo  boat  caught  up  with  the 
British  transport  Manitou,  and  opened  fire  on  her,  killing  some 
twenty  of  the  soldiers  on  board. 

In  answer  to  calls  for  help  from  the  Manitou  the  British  cruiser 
Minerva  and  some  torpedo  boats  went  to  the  scene  and  attacked 
the  Turkish  craft  on  April  7,  1915,  driving  it  ashore  off  Chios 
and  destroyed  it  as  it  lay  beached.  But  during  April,  1915,  it 
seemed  as  though  there  would  be  another  pitched  fight  between 
British  and  German  warships  in  the  North  Sea.  On  April  23, 
1915,  the  German  admiralty  announced  that  "the  German  High 
Sea  Fleet  has  recently  cruised  repeatedly  in  the  North  Sea,  ad- 
vancing into  English  waters  without  meeting  the  sea  forces 
of  Great  Britain."  The  British  admiralty  had  undoubtedly 
been  aware  of  this  activity  on  the  part  of  their  enemy,  but 
for  reasons  of  their  own  did  not  choose  to  send  British  ships 
to  meet  the  German  fleet,  and  the  expected  battle  did  not  take 

France,  on  April  26,  1915,  was  to  sustain  a  severe  loss  to  her 
navy;  she  had  up  to  this  time  not  lost  as  many  ships  as  her 
ally,  England,  or  her  enemy,  Germany,  but  her  navy  was  so  much 
smaller  than  either  of  them  that  the  sinking  of  the  Leon 
Gamhetta  on  that  date  was  a  matter  of  weight.  The  Gam- 
betta  was  an  armored  cruiser,  built  in  1904,  and  carrying  four 
7.6-inch  guns,  sixteen  6.4-inch  guns  and  a  number  of  smaller 
caliber.    She  had  a  speed  of  twenty-three  knots.    While  doing 


patrol  duty  in  the  Strait  of  Otranto  she  was  made  the  victim  of 
the  Austrian  submarine  U-5,  and  sank,  carrying  with  her  552 

On  April  28,  1915,  there  occurred  another  incident  which  gave 
rise  to  diplomatic  exchanges  between  Germany  and  the  United 
States.  On  that  date  a  German  seaplane  attacked  the  American 
merchantman  in  broad  daylight  in  the  North  Sea,  but  fortunately 
for  its  crew  the  ship  was  not  sent  to  the  bottom.  The  first 
American  ship  to  be  struck  by  a  torpedo  in  the  war  zone 
established  by  the  German  admiralty's  proclamation  of  February 
5,  1915,  was  the  GmI flight  This  tank  steamer  was  hit  by  a 
torpedo  fired  by  a  German  submarine  off  the  Scilly  Islands,  on 
the  1st  of  May,  1915. 

But  of  more  importance,  because  of  the  number  of  American 
lives  lost,  the  standing  of  the  matter  in  international  law  and  the 
prominence  of  the  vessel,  was  the  sinking  of  the  Cunard  liner 
Lusitania,  on  May  7,  1915.  This  is  fully  described  in  the  chapter 
on  submarines,  and  in  the  diplomatic  developments  discussed  in 
the  chapter  on  the  United  States  and  the  War.  The  Lusitania  had 
left  New  York  for  Liverpool  on  the  1st  of  May,  1915.  She  was 
one  of.  the  fastest  ships  plying  between  the  Eastern  and  Western 
Hemispheres.  Larger  than  any  warship  afloat  at  the  time,  she 
was  able  to  make  the  trip  from  Liverpool  to  New  York  in  a  little 
under  five  days.  On  her  last  crossing  she  carried  2,160  persons, 
including  passengers  and  crew,  many  of  the  former  being  Ameri- 
cans, some  of  them  of  great  prominence.  While  off  Old  Head 
of  Kinsale,  on  the  southeastern  end  of  Ireland,  at  about  half 
past  two,  on  the  afternoon  of  May  7,  1915,  with  a  calm  sea  and 
no  wind,  she  was  hit  by  one  or  more  torpedoes  from  a  German 
submarine  without  wanring. 

Those  on  board  immediately  went  to  the  life  boats,  but  it  was 
only  twenty  minutes  after  she  had  first  been  hit  that  she  sank, 
and  not  enough  of  the  small  craft  could  be  gotten  over  her  side 
in  that  time  to  rescue  all  those  on  board.  Out  of  the  2,160 
souls  aboard  at  least  1,398  were  lost.  Of  these  107  were  Ameri- 
can citizens.  Small  boats  in  the  neighborhood  of  the  disaster 
hurried  to  the  scene  and  rescued  those  whom  they  could  reach  in 

186  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  water  and  brought  them  to  Queenstown.  The  sacks  of  mail 
which  the  liner  carried  and  which  went  down  with  her  were  the 
first  American  mail  sacks  ever  lost  at  sea  as  a  result  of  war.  The 
controversies  which  this  disaster  gave  rise  to  between  England, 
Germany  and  the  United  States  are  given  elsewhere. 

Against  British  warships  the  submarine  warfare  was  also 
effective  during  the  month  of  May,  1915.  On  the  1st  day  of 
that  month  the  old  British  destroyer  Recruit  was  sent  to  the 
bottom  of  the  North  Sea  by  a  German  submarine,  but  the  two 
German  destroyers  which  had  accompanied  the  submarine  that 
did  this  were  pursued  immediately  by  British  destroyers  and 
were  sunk.  On  the  same  day  that  the  Lusitania  went  down  a 
German  mine  ended  the  career  of  the  British  destroyer  Maori, 


IN      MANY      WATERS 

THE  month  of  May,   1915,   saw  new  characters   enter  the 
theatres  of  naval  warfare.  Italy  had  now  entered  the  war  and 
brought  to  the  naval  strength  of  the  Allies  a  minor  naval  unit. 

At  the  time  Italy  entered  the  war  she  possessed  six  dread- 
noughts, the  Caio  Duilio  and  the  Andrea  Doria,  completed  in 
1915,  the  Conte  di  Cavour,  Giulio  Cesare,  and  Leonardo  da  Vinci, 
completed  in  1914,  and  the  Dante  Alighieri,  completed  in  1912. 
Each  of  these  dreadnoughts  had  a  speed  of  23  knots.  The  Dante 
Alighieri  displaced  19,400  tons  and  had  a  main  battery  of  twelve 
12-inch  guns,  and  a  complement  of  987  men.  Each  of  the  other 
five  had  thirteen  12-inch  guns  and  a  complement  of  1,000  men. 
The  displacement  of  vessels  of  the  1914  type  was  22,340  tons; 
that  of  the  1915  type  23,025  tons.  There  were  many  lesser  craft 
flying  the  Italian  flag,  but  these  larger  ships  were  the  most 
important  additions  to  the  naval  forces  of  the  Allies  in  southern 


The  chief  operations  of  the  Italian  navy  were  directed  against 
Austria.  On  May  28,  1915,  the  Italian  admiralty  announced 
the  damage  inflicted  on  Austrian  maritime  strength  up  to  that 
date.  On  May  24,  1915,  the  Austrian  torpedo  boat  S-20  ap- 
proached the  canal  at  Porto  Corsini,  but  drew  a  very  heavy  fire 
from  concealed  and  unsuspected  batteries  which  forced  her  to 
leave  immediately.  The  Austrian  torpedo  boat  destroyer  Scharf- 
schiltze,  the  scout  ship  Novara  and  the  destroyer  Ozepel,  all  of 
the  Austrian  navy,  came  to  the  assistance  of  the  S-20  and  also 
received  salvos  from  the  Italian  land  batteries.  But  on  the  same 
day  the  Italian  destroyer  Turbine,  while  scouting  gave  chase  to 
an  Austrian  destroyer  and  the  Austrian  cruiser  Helgoland,  The 
strength  of  these  Austrian  ships  was  too  much  for  the  Turbine 
and  she  put  on  speed  with  the  intention  of  escaping  from 
their  fire,  but  she  was  severely  damaged  by  Austrian  shells,  and 
not  having  enough  ammunition  aboard  to  give  a  good  account 
of  herself,  she  was  scuttled  by  her  own  crew. 

It  is  now  necessary  to  take  up  again  the  story  of  the  German 
raiding  ships  at  large  on  the  high  seas.  As  has  been  told  above, 
after  the  Prinz  Eitel  Friedrich  ended  her  career  by  putting  in 
at  Newport  News  the  only  German  ships  of  the  kind  remaining 
at  large  were  the  Karlsruhe  and  Kronprinz  Wilhelm,  But  on 
the  1st  of  April,  1915,  the  Macedonia,  a  converted  liner  which 
since  November,  1914,  had  been  interned  at  Las  Palmas, 
Canary  Islands,  succeeded  in  slipping  out  of  the  harbor  laden 
with  provisions  and  supplies  for  use  of  warships  and 
made  her  way  to  South  American  waters  in  spite  of  the 
fact  that  she  had  run  through  lines  patrolled  by  British 

The  Kronprinz  Wilhelm' s  career  as  a  raider  ended  on  April  11, 
1915,  when,  like  the  Prinz  Eitel  Friedrich,  she  succeeded  in  get- 
ting past  the  British  cruisers  and  slipped  into  Newport  News, 
Virginia.  How  this  former  Hamburg- American  liner  had  slipped 
out  of  the  harbor  of  New  York  on  the  night  of  August  3,.  1914, 
with  her  bunkers  and  even  her  cabins  filled  with  coal  and  pro- 
visions, with  all  lights  out  and  with  canvas  covering  her  port 
holes  has  already  been  told.    From  that  date  until  she  again  put 

188  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

in  at  an  American  port  she  captured  numerous  merchant  ships, 
taking  960  prisoners  and  doing  damage  amounting  to  more  than 
$7,000,000.  She  kept  herself  provisioned  from  her  captives,  and 
it  was  only  the  poor  condition  of  her  plates  and  boilers  that 
made  her  captain  give  up  raiding  when  he  did.  Her  movements 
had  been  mysterious  during  all  the  time  she  was  at  large.  She 
was  known  to  have  reprovisioned  the  cruiser  Dresden  and  to 
have  taken  an  almost  stationary  position  in  the  South  Atlantic  in 
order  to  act  as  a  "wireless  station"  for  the  squadron  of  Admiral 
von  Spee.  But  when  the  latter  was  defeated  off  the  Falkland 
Islands,  she  resumed  operations  as  a  raider  of  commerce.  When 
she  came  into  Newport  News  more  than  60  per  cent  of  her  crew 
Were  suffering  from  what  was  thought  to  be  beri-beri;  she  had 
but  twenty-one  tons  of  coal  in  her  bunkers  and  almost  no  am- 

The  total  damage  inflicted  on  the  commerce  of  the  Allies  by 
the  Emden,  Karlsruhe,  Kronprinz  Wilhelm,  Prinz  Eitel  Fried- 
rich,  Konigsherg,  Dresden  an^  Leipzig  amounted,  by  the  end  of 
May,  1915,  to  $35,000,000.  Sixty-seven  vessels  had  been  cap- 
tured and  sunk  by  them. 

In  the  Dardanelles  the  naval  operations  were  resumed,  to 
some  extent,  during  the  month  of  May,  1915.  For  a  number  of 
weeks  after  the  allied  fleet  had  made  the  great  attempt  to  force 
the  Dardanelles  on  March  19,  1915,  their  commanders  attempted 
no  maneuvers  with  the  larger  ships,  but  the  submarines  were 
given  work  to  do.  On  April  27,  1915,  the  British  submarine 
E-14',  under  command  of  Lieutenant  Commander  Boyle,  dived 
and  went  under  the  Turkish  mine  fields,  reaching  the  waters 
of  the  Sea  of  Marmora.  In  spite  of  the  fact  that  Turkish  de- 
stroyers knew  of  its  presence  and  hourly  watched  for  it  in  the 
hope  of  sinking  it,  this  submarine  was  able  to  operate  brilliantly 
for  some  days,  sinking  two  Turkish  gunboats  and  a  laden  trans- 
port. Similar  exploits  were  performed  by  Lieutenant  Com- 
mander Nasmith  with  the  British  submarine  E-11,  which  even 
damaged  wharves  at  the  Turkish  capital. 

But  when  the  military  operations  were  getting  under  way  dur- 
ing May,  1915,  the  larger  ships  of  the  fleets  were  again  used. 


The  Germans  realizing  that  these  great  ships,  moving  as  they  did 
slowly  and  deliberately  while  they  fired  on  the  land  forts,  would 
be  good  targets  for  torpedoes,  sent  some  of  their  newest  sub- 
marines from  the  bases  in  the  North  Sea,  down  along  the  coasts 
of  France  and  Spain,  through  the  passage  at  Gibraltar  and  to 
the  Dardanelles.  Destroyers  accompanying  the  allied  fleets  kept 
diligent  watch  for  attacks  from  them.  The  Goeben,  one  of  the 
German  battle  cruisers  that  had  escaped  British  and  French 
fleets  in  the  Mediterranean  during  the  first  weeks  of  the  war, 
and  which  was  now  a  part  of  the  Turkish  navy,  was  brought  to 
the  scene  and  aided  the  Turkish  forts  in  their  bombardment  of 
the  hostile  warships. 

On  May  12,  1915,  the  British  battleship  Goliath,  of  old  design 
and  displacing  some  12,000  tons,  was  sunk  by  a  torpedo.  This 
ship  had  been  protecting  a  part  of  the  French  fleet  from  flank 
attack  inside  the  straits,  and  under  the  cover  of  darkness  had 
been  approached  by  a  Turkish  destroyer  which  fired  the  fatal 
torpedo.    It  sank  almost  immediately. 

The  submarines  of  the  German  navy  which  had  made  the  long 
journey  to  participate  in  the  action  near  the  Dardanelles  got  in 
their  first  work  on  May  26,  1915,  when  a  torpedo  fired  by  one 
of  them  struck  the  British  battleship  Triumph  and  sent  her  to 
the  bottom.    Of  interest  to  naval  authorities  all  over  the  world 
was  the  fact  that  this  ship  at  the  time  she  was  struck  had  out 
torpedo  nets  which  were  supposed  to  be  torpedo-proof;  but  the 
German  missile  tore  through  them  and  reached  the  hull.'  A  hunt 
was  made  for  the  hostile  submarine  by  the  British  destroyers, 
but  she  was  found  by  the  British  battleship  Majestic;  but  before 
the  British  ship  could  fire  a  shot  at  the  German  submarine,  the 
latter  fired  a  torpedo  that  caught  the  battleship  near  her  stern 
and  sank  her  immediately.    Apprehension  was  now  felt  for  the 
IHbiore  formidable  ships  such  as  the  Queen  Elizabeth  and  others 
^Bf  her  class  which  were  in  those  waters ;  inasmuch  as  the  opera- 
^ftons  at  the  Dardanelles  assumed  more  and  more  a  military 
^Bather  than  a  naval  character,  the  British  admiralty  thought  it 
!^*iv^iser  to  keep  the  Queen  Elizabeth  in  safer  waters ;  she  was  con- 
sequently called  back  to  England.     Only  old  battleships  and 

190  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

cruisers  were  left  to  cooperate  with  the  troops  operating  on 
the  Gallipoli  Peninsula. 

Naval  warfare  in  southern  waters  was  continued  against 
British  warships  by  the  Austrian  navy.  On  June  9,  1915,  the 
Austrian  admiralty  announced  that  a  cruiser  of  the  type  of  the 
Liverpool  had  been  struck  by  a  torpedo  fired  by  an  Austrian 
submarine  while  the  former  was  off  San  Giovanni  di  Medua, 
near  the  Albanian  coast.  Reports  of  the  incident  issued 
by  the  Austrian  and  British  naval  authorities  differed,  the 
former  claiming  that  the  cruiser  had  sunk,  and  the  latter 
that  it  had  remained  afloat  and  had  been  towed  to  an  Adriatic 

Most  unique  was  an  engagement  between  the  Italian  submarine 
Medusa  and  a  similar  craft  flying  the  Austrian  flag  on  June  17, 
1915.  This  was  the  first  time  that  two  submarines  had  ever 
fought  with  each  other.  On  that  day  the  two  submarines,  the 
presence  of  each  unknown  to  the  other,  lay  submerged,  not  a 
great  distance  apart.  The  Medusa,  after  some  hours,  came  up, 
allowing  only  her  periscope  to  show ;  seeing  no  enemy  about,  her 
commander  brought  the  rest  of  her  out  of  the  water.  She  had 
not  emerged  many  moments  before  the  Austrian  vessel  also 
came  up  for  a  look  around  and  the  commander  of  the  latter  espied 
the  Italian  submarine  through  his  periscope.  He  immediately 
ordered  a  torpedo  fired;  it  found  a  mark  in  the  hull  of  the 
Medusa  and  she  was  sent  to  the  bottom.  One  of  her  officers 
and  four  of  her  men  were  rescued  by  the  Austrian  submarine 
and  made  prisoners. 

Italy's  navy  was  not  to  continue  to  act  as  a  separate  naval 
unit  in  the  southern  naval  theatre  of  war,  for  on  June  18,  1915, 
the  Minister  of  Marine  of  France  announced  that  the  "Anglo- 
French  forces  in  the  Mediterranean  were  cooperating  with  the 
Italian  fleet,  whose  participation  made  possible  a  more  effective 
patrol  of  the  Adriatic.  Warships  of  the  Allies  were  engaged  in 
finding  and  destroying  oil  depots  from  which  the  enemy's  sub- 
marines had  been  replenishing  their  supplies."  This  effective 
patrol  did  not,  however,  prevent  an  Austrian  submarine  from 
sinking  an  Italian  torpedo  boat  on  June  21,  1915. 



In  the  Baltic  Sea  the  naval  activity  had  at  no  time  during  the 
first  year  of  the  war  been  great,  but  during  the  month  of  June, 
1915,  there  was  a  minor  naval  engagement  at  the  mouth  of  the 
Gulf  of  Riga,  during  which  the  Germans  lost  a  transport  and 
the  Russians  an  auxiliary  cruiser.  In  the  other  northern  waters 
the  Germans  lost  the  submarine  f7-i-4,  which  was  sunk  on  June  9, 
1915.  The  crew  were  brought  to  England  as  prisoners.  Three 
days  later  the  British  admiralty  admitted  that  two  torpedo  boats, 
the  No,  10  and  the  No.  12  had  been  lost.  The  loss  of  two  such 
small  boats  did  not  worry  Britain  as  much  as  did  the  loss  of  many 
merchant  ships  in  the  war  zone  right  through  the  spring  and 
summer  of  1915,  and  to  show  that  British  warships  were  not 
immune  from  submarine  attack,  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  many 
of  the  underwater  craft  of  Germany  were  meeting  with  disaster, 
the  British  cruiser  Roxburgh  was  struck  by  a  torpedo  on  June  20, 
1915,  but  was  able  to  get  away  under  her  own  steam.  The  rest 
of  the  month  saw  small  losses  to  nearly  all  of  the  fleets  engaged 
in  the  war,  but  none  of  these  were  of  importance. 

The  twelfth  month  of  the  first  year  of  war  was  not  particularly 
eventful  in  so  far  as  naval  history  was  concerned.  On  July  1, 
1915,  the  Germans  maneuvered  in  the  Baltic  Sea  with  a  small 
fleet  which  accompanied  transports  bearing  men  who  were  to 
try  to  land  on  the  northern  shores  of  Russia.  The  port  of  Win- 
dau  was  the  point  at  which  the  German  bombardment  was 
directed,  but  Russian  torpedo  boats  and  destroyers  fought  off  the 
invading  German  fleet — ^which  must  have  been  small — and  suc- 
ceeded in  chasing  the  German  mine-layer  Albatross,  making  it 
necessary  for  her  captain  to  beach  her  on  the  Swedish  island  of 
Gothland,  where  the  crew  was  interned  on  July  2,  1915.  On  the 
same  day  a  German  predreadnought  battleship,  believed  to  have 
been  the  Pommem,  was  sunk  at  the  mouth  of  Danzig  Bay  by  a 
torpedo  from  a  British  submarine. 

In  the  Adriatic  Austria  lost  a  submarine,  the  U-ll,  through  a 

unique  action.     The  submersible  was  sighted  on  July  1,  1915, 

by  a  French  aeroplane.    The  aviator  dropped  two  bombs  which 

found  their  mark  on  the  deck  of  the  submarine  and  sank  her. 

Austria  had,  during  that  month,  made  an  attempt  to  capture 

13— War  St.  3 

192  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  Austrian  island  of  Pelagosa,  which  had  been  occupied 
by  the  Italians  on  July  26,  1915.  But  July  29,  1915,  the  fleet  of 
Austrian  cruisers  and  destroyers,  which  made  the  attack, 
was  driven  off  by  unnamed  units  of  the  Italian  navy.  But  a  loss 
by  the  latter  had  been  incurred  on  July  7, 1915,  when  the  armored 
cruiser  Amalfi,  while  scouting  in  the  upper  waters  of  the  Adriatic 
Sea,  was  sighted  and  tori>edoed  by  an  Austrian  submarine.  She 
sank,  but  most  of  her  men  were  saved.  Another  Austrian  sub- 
marine had  the  same  success  on  July  17,  1915,  when  it  fired  a 
torpedo  at  the  Italian  cruiser  Giuseppe  Garibaldi,  and  saw  her 
go  down  fifteen  minutes  later.  Italy  endeavored  to  imitate  the 
actions  of  Germany  when,  on  July  6,  1915,  she  proclaimed  that 
the  entire  Adriatic  Sea  was  a  war  zone  and  that  the  Strait  of 
Otranto  was  in  a  state  of  blockade.  All  the  ports  of  Dalmatia 
were  closed  to  every  kind  of  commerce. 

Near  the  coasts  of  Turkey,  toward  the  end  of  the  first  year 
of  war,  there  was  fought  the  second  duel  between  submarines. 
This  time  the  vanquished  vessel  was  the  French  submarine 
Mariotte,  which,  on  July  26,  1915,  was  sunk  by  a  torpedo  from 
a  German  submarine  in  the  waters  right  near  the  entrance  to 
the  Dardanelles.  Britain  ended  the  first  year  of  naval  warfare 
by  destroying  the  German  cruiser  Konigsberg,  which,  since  the 
fall  of  the  year  before,  had  been  lying  up  the  Rufiji  River  in  Ger- 
man East  Africa,  after  having  been  chased  thence  by  a  British 
cruiser.  It  was  decided  to  destroy  her  in  order  that  she  might 
not  get  by  the  sunken  hulls  that  the  British  had  placed  at  the 
mouth  of  the  river  in  order  to  "bottle  her  up."  Consequently,  on 
the  morning  of  July  4,  1915,  after  her  position  had  been  noted 
by  an  aviator,  two  British  river  monitors,  Severn  and  Mersey, 
aided  by  a  cruiser  and  minor  vessels,  began  to  fire  upon  the 
stationary  vessel.  Their  fire  was  directed  by  the  aviator  who  ha(? 
discovered  her,  but  it  was  at  first  almost  ineffective  because  she 
lay  so  well  concealed  by  the  vegetation  of  the  surrounding  jungle. 
She  answered  their  fire  and  succeeded  in  damaging  the  Mersey/ 
but  after  being  bombarded  for  six  hours  she  was  set  on  fire.  When 
the  British  monitors  had  finished  with  her  she  was  a  total  wreck. 

STORY    OF   THE    "EMDEN"  19? 


WE  now  return  to  the  exploits  of  the  Emden,  its  mysterious 
disappearance  and  the  narrative  of  its  heroes — a  great  epic 
of  the  sea. 

When  in  Volume  III  the  story  of  the  sinking  of  the  Ger- 
man cruiser  Emden  was  related,  mention  was  made  of  the 
escape  of  the  landing  party  belonging  to  that  ship  from  Cocos 
Island.  This  party  consisted  of  fifty  men,  headed  by  Captain 
Mucke,  and  from  the  time  their  ship  went  down  on  November 
9,  1914,  until  they  reported  for  duty  again  at  Damascus,  Syria, 
in  May,  1915,  they  had  a  series  of  adventures  as  thrilling  as 
those  encountered  by  the  heroes  in  any  of  the  Renaissance 

Before  the  Emden  met  the  Australian  cruiser  Sydney,  and  had 
been  sunk  by  the  latter,  she  had  picked  up  three  officers  from 
German  steamers  which  she  had  met.  This  proved  to  be  a  piece 
of  good  fortune,  for  extra  officers  were  needed  to  board  and  com- 
mand the  prize  crews  of  captured  vessels.  The  story  of  the  raid- 
ing of  the  Emden  has  already  been  given ;  but  here  the  story  of 
the  landing  party  is  given  as  told  by  Captain  Mucke  himself  on 
May  10,  1915,  at  Damascus: 

"On  November  9,  1914,"  he  said,  "I  left  the  Emden  in  order 
to  destroy  the  wireless  plant  on  Cocos  Island.  I  had  fifty  men, 
four  machine  guns,  about  thirty  rifles.  Just  as  we  were  about  to 
destroy  the  apparatus  it  reported,  'Careful ;  Emden  near.'  The 
work  of  destruction  went  smoothly.  The  wireless  operators 
said:  Thank  God.  It's  been  like  being  under  arrest  day  and 
night  lately.'  Presently  the  Emden  signaled  us,  'Hurry  up.'  I 
packed  up,  but  simultaneously  the  Emden's  siren  wailed.  I  hur- 
ried to  the  bridge  and  saw  the  flag  *Anna'  go  up.  That  meant 
•Weigh  anchor.'  We  ran  like  mad  to  our  boat,  but  already  the 
Emden's  pennant  was  up,  the  battle  flag  was  raised,  and  they 
began  to  fire  from  the  starboard." 

194  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

"The  enemy,"  explained  Captain  Mucke,  "was  concealed  by  the 
island  and  therefore  not  to  be  seen,  but  I  saw  the  shells  strike 
the  water.  To  follow  and  catch  the  Emden  was  out  of  the  ques- 
tion, as  she  was  going  at  twenty  knots,  and  I  only  four  with  my 
steam  pinnace.  Therefore  I  turned  back  to  land,  raised  the  flag, 
declared  German  laws  of  war  in  force,  seized  all  arms,  set  up 
my  machine  guns  on  shore  in  order  to  guard  against  a  hostile 
landing.  Then  I  ran  out  again  in  order  to  observe  the  fight. 
From  the  splash  of  the  shells  it  looked  as  though  the  enemy 
had  15-centimeter  guns,  bigger,  therefore,  than  the  Emden' s. 
He  fired  rapidly  but  poorly.  It  was  the  Australian  cruiser 

According  to  the  account  of  the  Englishmen  who  saw  the  first 
part  of  the  engagement  from  the  shore,  the  Emden  was  cut  up 
rapidly.  Her  forward  smokestack  lay  across  the  deck,  and  was 
already  burning  fiercely  aft.  Behind  the  mainmast  several  shells 
struck  home. 

"We  saw  the  high  flame,"  continued  Captain  Miicke,  "whether 
circular  fighting  or  a  running  fight  now  followed,  I  don't  know, 
because  I  again  had  to  look  to  my  land  defenses.  Later,  I  looked 
on  from  the  roof  of  a  house.  Now  the  Emden  again  stood  out  to 
sea  about  4,000  to  5,000  yards,  still  burning.  As  she  again  turned 
toward  the  enemy,  the  forward  mast  was  shot  away.  On  the 
enemy  no  "outward  damage  was  apparent,  but  columns  of  smoke 
showed  where  shots  had  struck  home.  Then  the  Emden  took  a 
northerly  course,  likewise  the  enemy,  and  I  had  to  stand  there 
helpless,  gritting  my  teeth  and  thinking;  *Damn  it;  the  Emden 
is  burning  and  you  aren't  aboard !'  " 

Captain  Miicke,  in  relating  his  thrilling  adventure,  then  ex- 
plained: "The  ships,  still  fighting,  disappeared  behind  the  hori- 
zon. I  thought  that  an  unlucky  outcome  for  the  Emden  was  pos- 
sible, also  a  landing  by  the  enemy  on  the  Keeling  Island,  at  least 
for  the  purpose  of  landing  the  wounded  and  taking  on  provisions. 
As  there  were  other  ships  in  the  neighborhood,  according  to  the 
statements  of  the  Englishmen,  I  saw  myself  faced  with  the  cer- 
tainty of  having  soon  to  surrender  because  of  a  lack  of  ammuni- 
tion. But  for  no  price  did  I  and  my  men  want  to  get  into  English 

STORY    OF    THE    "EMDEN'' 


196  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

imprisonment.  As  I  was  thinking  about  all  this,  the  masts  again 
appeared  on  the  horizon,  the  Emden  steaming  easterly,  but  very 
much  slower.  All  at  once  the  enemy,  at  high  speed,  shot  by,  ap- 
parently quite  close  to  the  Emden.  A  high  white  waterspout 
showed  amidst  the  black  smoke  of  the  enemy.  That  was  a 
torpedo.  I  saw*how  the  two  opponents  withdrew,  the  distance 
growing  greater  and  greater  between  them ;  how  they  separated, 
till  they  disappeared  in  the  darkness.  The  fight  had  lasted  ten 

"I  had  made  up  my  mind  to  leave  the  island  as  quickly  as  pos- 
sible. The  E'mden  was  gone ;  the  danger  for  us  growing.  In  the 
harbor  I  had  noticed  a  three-master,  the  schooner  Ayesha,  Mr. 
Ross,  the  owner  of  the  ship  and  of  the  island,  had  warned  me 
that  the  boat  was  leaky,  but  I  found  it  quite  a  seaworthy  tub. 
Now  provisions  for  eight  weeks,  and  water  for  four,  were  quickly 
taken  on  board.  The  Englishmen  very  kindly  showed  us  the  best 
water  and  gave  us  clothing  and  utensils.  They  declared  this  was 
their  thanks  for  our  'moderation'  and  'generosity.*  Then  they 
collected  the  autographs  of  our  men,  photographed  them  and 
gave  three  cheers  as  our  last  boat  put  off.  It  was  evening,  nearly 
dark,  when  we  sailed  away. 

'The  Ayesha  proved  to  be  a  really  splendid  boat.  We  had  only 
one  sextant  and  two  chronometers  on  board,  but  a  chronometer 
journal  was  lacking.  Luckily  I  found  an  'Old  Indian  Ocean  Di- 
rectory' of  1882  on  board;  its  information  went  back  to  the 
year  1780. 

'*I  had  said :  'We  are  going  to  East  Africa.'  Therefore  I  sailed 
at  first  westward,  then  northward.  There  followed  the  monsoons, 
but  then  also,  long  periods  of  dead  calm.  Only  two  neutral  ports 
came  seriously  under  consideration;  Batavia  and  Padang.  A1 
Keeling  I  had  cautiously  asked  about  Tsing-tau,  of  which  I  had 
naturally  thought  first,  and  so  quite  by  chance  I  learned  that  it 
had  fallen.  Now  I  decided  for  Padang,  because  I  knew  I  would  be 
more  apt  to  meet  the  Emden  there,  also  because  there  was  a 
German  consul  there,  because  my  schooner  was  unknown  there 
and  because  I  hoped  to  find  German  ships  there,  and  learn  some 
news.  'It'll  take  you  six  to  eight  days  to  reach  Batavia'  a  captain 

STORY   OF   THE    "EMDEN"  197 

had  told  me  at  Keeling.  Now  we  needed  eighteen  days  to  reach 
Padang,  the  weather  was  so  rottenly  still." 

The  suffering  of  the  crew  of  the  Emden  on  their  perilous  voy- 
age is  here  told  in  the  captain^s  words:  "We  had  an  excellent 
cook  aboard;  he  had  deserted  from  the  French  Foreign  Legion. 
We  had  to  go  sparingly  with  our  water;  each  man  received  but 
three  glasses  daily.  When  it  rained,  all  possible  receptacles  were 
placed  on  deck  and  the  main  sail  was  spread  over  the  cabin  roof 
to  catch  the  rain. 

"At  length  as  we  came  in  the  neighborhood  of  Padang,  on  the 
26th  of  November,  1915,  a  ship  appeared  for  the  first  time  and 
looked  for  our  name.  But  the  name  had  been  painted  over,  be- 
cause it  was  the  former  English  name.  As  I  thought,  'You're  rid 
of  the  fellow'  the  ship  came  up  again  in  the  evening,  and  steamed 
within  a  hundred  yards  of  us.  I  sent  all  my  men  below  deck,  and 
I  promenaded  the  deck  as  the  solitary  skipper.  Through  Morse 
signals  the  stranger  gave  her  identity.  She  proved  to  be  the 
Hollandish  torpedo  boat  Lynx,  I  asked  by  signals,  'Why  do  you 
follow  me?'  No  answer.  The  next  morning  I  found  myself  in 
Hollandish  waters,  so  I  raised  pennant  and  war  flag.  Now  the 
Lynx  came  at  top  speed  past  us.  As  it  passed  I  had  my  men  line 
up  on  deck,  and  gave  a  greeting.  The  greeting  was  answered. 
Then,  before  the  harbor  at  Padang,  I  went  aboard  the  Lynx  in 
my  well  and  carefully  preserved  uniform  and  declared  my  inten- 
tions. The  commandant  opined  that  I  could  run  into  the  harbor, 
but  whether  I  might  come  out  again  was  doubtful. 

"Three  German  ships  were  in  the  harbor  at  Padang,"  con- 
tinues Captain  Miicke.  "The  harbor  authorities  demanded  the 
certification  for  pennant  and  war  flag,  also  papers  to  prove  that 
I  was  the  commander  of  this  warship.  For  that,  I  answered,  I 
was  only  responsible  to  my  superior  officer.  Now  they  advised 
me  most  insistently  to  allow  ourselves  to  be  interned  peacefully. 
They  said  it  wasn't  at  all  pleasant  in  the  neighborhood.  We'd 
fall  into  the  hands  of  the  Japanese  or  the  English.  As  a  matter 
of  fact,  we  again  had  great  luck.  On  the  day  before  a  Japanese 
warship  had  been  cruising  around  here.  Naturally,  I  rejected  all 
the  well-meant  and  kindly  advice,  and  did  th^s  in  the  presence  of 

198  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

my  lieutenants.  I  demanded  provisions,  water,  sails,  tackle,  and 
clothing.  They  replied  we  could  take  on  board  everything  which 
we  had  formerly  had  on  board,  but  nothing  which  would  mean 
an  increase  in  our  naval  strength. 

"First  thing,  I  wanted  to  improve  our  wardrobe,  for  I  had 
only  one  sock,  a  pair  of  shoes,  and  one  clean  shirt,  which  had 
become  rather  threadbare.  My  comrades  had  even  less.  But  the 
master  of  the  port  declined  to  let  us  have,  not  only  charts,  but 
also  clothing  and  toothbrushes,  on  the  ground  that  these  would  be 
an  increase  in  armament.  Nobody  could  come  aboard,  nobody 
could  leave  the  ship  without  permission.  I  requested  that  the 
consul  be  allowed  to  come  aboard.  The  consul,  Herr  Schild,  as 
also  did  the  brothers  Baumer,  gave  us  assistance  in  the  friend- 
liest fashion.  From  the  German  steamers  boats  could  come  along- 
side and  talk  with  us.  Finally,  we  were  allowed  to  have  German 
papers.  They  were,  to  be  sure,  from  August  only.  From  then 
until  March,  1915,  we  saw  no  papers. 

"Hardly  had  we  been  towed  out  of  the  harbor  again  after 
twenty-four  hours,  on  the  evening  of  the  28th  of  November,  1914, 
when  a  searchlight  flashed  before  us.  I  thought,  'Better  interned 
than  prisoner.'  I  put  out  all  lights  and  withdrew  to  the  shelter 
of  the  island.  But  they  were  Hollanders  and  didn't  do  anything 
to  us.  Then  for  two  weeks  more  we  drifted  around,  lying  still 
for  days.  The  weather  was  alternately  still,  rainy,  and  blowy. 
At  length  a  ship,  a  freighter,  came  in  sight.  It  saw  us  and  made 
a  big  curve  around  us.  I  made  everything  hastily  'clear  for  bat- 
tle.' Then  one  of  our  officers  recognized  her  for  the  Choising. 
She  showed  the  German  flag.  I  sent  up  light  rockets,  although 
it  was  broad  day,  and  went  with  all  sails  set,  that  were  still  set- 
able,  toward  her.  The  Choising  was  a  coaster  from  Hongkong 
to  Siam.  She  was  at  Singapore  when  the  war  broke  out,  then 
went  to  Batavia,  was  chartered,  loaded  with  coal  for  the  enemy, 
and  had  put  into  Padang  in  need,  because  the  coal  in  the  hold 
had  caught  fire.  There  we  had  met  her. 

"Great  was  our  joy  now.  I  had  all  my  men  come  on  deck  and 
line  up  for  review.  The  fellows  hadn't  a  rag  on.  Thus,  in  nature's 
garb,  we  gave  three  cheers  for  the  German  flag  on  the  Choising, 

STORY    OF   THE    "EMDEN'*  I99 

The  men  of  the  Choising  told  us  afterward  *We  couldn't  make  out 
what  that  meant,  those  stark-naked  fellows  all  cheering.'  The  sea 
was  too  high,  and  we  had  to  wait  two  days  before  we  could  board 
the  Choising  on  December  16,  1914.  We  took  very  little  with  us ; 
the  schooner  was  taken  in  tow.  In  the  afternoon  we  sank  the 
Ayesha  and  were  all  very  sad.  The  good  old  Ayesha  had  served 
us  faithfully  for  six  weeks.  The  log  showed  that  we  had  made 
1,709  sea  miles  under  sail  since  leaving  Keeling.  She  wasn't  at 
all  rotten  and  unseaworthy,  as  they  had  told  me,  but  nice  and 
white  and  dry  inside.  I  had  grown  fond  of  the  boat,  on  which 
I  could  practice  my  old  sailing  maneuvers.  The  only  trouble  was 
that  the  sails  would  go  to  pieces  every  now  and  then,  because  they 
were  so  old. 

"But  anyway,  she  went  down  quite  properly.  We  had  bored  a 
hole  in  her ;  she  filled  slowly  and  then  all  of  a  sudden  disappeared. 
That  was  the  saddest  day  of  the  whole  month.  We  gave  her  three 
cheers,  and  my  next  yacht  at  Kiel  will  be  named  Ayesha,  that  is 

"To  the  captain  of  the  Choising  I  had  said,  when  I  hailed  him, 
*I  do  not  know  what  will  happen  to  the  ship.  The  war  situation 
may  make  it  necessary  for  me  to  strand  it.'  He  did  not  want  to 
undertake  the  responsibility.  I  proposed  that  we  work  together, 
and  I  would  take  the  responsibility.  Then  we  traveled  together 
for  three  weeks,  from  Padang  to  Hodeida.  The  Choising  was 
some  ninety  meters  long,  and  had  a  speed  of  nine  miles,  though 
sometimes  only  four.  If  she  had  not  accidentally  arrived  I  had 
intended  to  cruise  along  the  west  coast  of  Sumatra  to  the  region 
of  the  northern  monsoon.  I  came  about  six  degrees  north,  then 
over  toward  Aden  to  the  Arabian  coast.  In  the  Red  Sea  the  north- 
eastern monsoon,  which  here  blows  southeast,  could  bring  us  to 
D Jidda.  I  had  heard  in  Padang  that  Turkey  was  still  allied  with 
Germany,  so  we  would  be  able  to  get  safely  through  Arabia  to 

"I  next  waited  for  information  through  ships,  but  the  Choising 
did  not  know  anything  definite,  either.  By  way  of  the  Luchs,  the 
Konigsberg  and  Kormoran  the  reports  were  uncertain.  Besides, 
according  to  newspapers  at  Aden,  the  Arabs  were  said  to  have 

200  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

fought  with  the  English;  therein  there  seemed  to  be  offered  an 
opportunity  near  at  hand  to  damage  the  enemy.  I  therefore 
sailed  with  the  Choising  in  the  direction  of  Aden.  Lieutenant 
Cordts  of  the  Choising  had  heard  that  the  Arabian  railway  al- 
ready went  almost  to  Hodeida,  near  the  Perin  Strait.  The  ship's 
surgeon  there,  Docounlang,  found  confirmation  of  this  in  Meyer's 
Traveling  Handbook.  This  railway  could  not  have  been  taken 
over  by  the  Englishmen,  who  always  dreamt  of  it.  By  doing 
this  they  would  have  further  and  completely  wrought  up  the 
Mohammedans  by  making  more  difficult  the  journey  to  Mecca. 
Best  of  all,  we  thought,  *We*ll  simply  step  into  the  express  train 
and  whizz  nicely  away  to  the  North  Sea.'  Certainly  there  would 
be  safe  journeying  homeward  through  Arabia.  To  be  sure,  we 
had  maps  of  the  Red  Sea;  but  it  was  the  shortest  way  to  the 
foe  whether  in  Aden  or  in  Germany. 

"On  the  7th  of  January,  1915,  between  nine  and  ten  o'clock 
in  the  evening,  we  sneaked  through  the  Strait  of  Perin.  It  lay 
swarming  full  of  Englishmen.  We  steered  along  the  African 
coast,  close  past  an  English  cable  layer.  That  was  my  greatest 
delight — how  the  Englishmen  will  be  vexed  when  they  learn  that 
we  passed  safely  by  Perin.  On  the  next  evening  we  saw  on  the 
coast  a  few  lights  near  the  water.  We  thought  that  must  be 
the  pier  of  Hodeida.  But  when  we  measured  the  distance  by 
night,  three  thousand  meters,  I  began  to  think  that  must  be 
something  else.  At  dawn  I  made  out  two  masts  and  four  smoke- 
stacks; that  was  an  enemy  ship  and,  what  is  more,  an  armored 
French  cruiser.  I  therefore  ordered  the  Choising  to  put  to  sea, 
and  to  return  at  night. 

"The  next  day  and  night  the  same;  then  we  put  out  four 
boats — ^these  we  pulled  to  shore  at  sunrise  under  the  eyes  of  the 
unsuspecting  Frenchmen.  The  sea  reeds  were  thick.  A  few 
Arabs  came  close  to  us ;  then  there  ensued  a  difficult  negotiation 
with  the  Arabian  coast  guards.  For  we  did  not  even  know 
whether  Hodeida  was  in  English  or  French  hands.  We  waved 
to  them,  laid  aside  our  arms,  and  made  signs  to  them.  The 
Arabs,  gathering  together,  began  to  rub  two  fingers  together; 
that  means  *We  are  friends.'  We  thought  it  meant  'We  are  going 

STORY    OF   THE    "EMDEN"  201 

to  rub  against  you  and  are  hostile.*  I  therefore  said:  'Boom- 
boom'  and  pointed  to  the  warship.  At  all  events,  I  set  up  my 
machine  guns  and  made  preparations  for  a  skirmish.  But,  thank 
God,  one  of  the  Arabs  understood  the  word  'Germans' ;  that  was 

"Soon  a  hundred  Arabs  came  and  helped  us  and  as  we  marched 
into  Hodeida  the  Turkish  soldiers  who  had  been  called  out 
against  us  saluted  us  as  Allies  and  friends.  To  be  sure,  there  was 
not  a  trace  of  a  railway,  but  we  were  received  very  well  and  they 
assured  us  we  could  get  through  by  land.  Therefore,  I  gave  red- 
star  signals  at  night,  telling  the  Choising  to  sail  away,  since  the 
enemy  was  near  by.  Inquiries  and  deliberations  concerning  a 
safe  journey  by  land  proceeded.  I  also  heard  that  in  the  interior 
about  six  days'  journey  away,  there  was  healthy  highland  where 
our  fever  invalids  could  recuperate.  I  therefore  determined  to 
journey  next  to  Sana.  On  the  kaiser's  birthday  we  held  a  great 
parade  in  common  with  the  Turkish  troops — all  this  under  the 
noses  of  the  Frenchmen.  On  the  same  day  we  marched  away 
from  Hodeida  to  the  highland. 

"Two  months  later  we  again  put  to  sea.  The  time  spent  in  the 
highland  of  Sana  passed  in  lengthy  inquiries  and  discussions  that 
dually  resulted  in  our  foregoing  the  journey  by  land  through 
Arabia,  for  religious  reasons.  But  the  time  was  not  altogether 
lost.  The  men  who  were  sick  with  malaria  had,  for  most  part, 
recuperated  in  the  highland  air. 

"The  Turkish  Government  placed  at  our  disposal  two  sambuks 
(sailing  ships),  of  about  twenty-five  tons,  fifteen  meters  long 
and  four  wide.  But,  in  fear  of  English  spies,  we  sailed  from 
Jebaua,  ten  miles  north  of  Hodeida.  That  was  on  March  14, 1915. 
At  first  we  sailed  at  a  considerable  distance  apart,  so  that  we 
would  not  both  be  captured  if  an  English  gunboat  caught  us. 
Therefore,  we  always  had  to  sail  in  coastal  water.    That  is  full 

iof  coral  reefs,  however." 
Captain  Miicke  had  charge  of  the  first  sambuk.    Everything 
went  well  for  three  days.   On  the  third  day  the  order  was  given 
for  the  sambuks  to  keep  near  together  because  the  pilot  of  the 

202  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  twilight  the  men  in  the  second  sambuk  felt  a  shock,  then  an- 
other, and  a  third.  The  water  poured  into  it  rapidly.  It  had 
run  upon  the  reef  of  a  small  island,  where  the  smaller  sambuk 
had  been  able  to  pass  on  account  of  its  lighter  draft.  Soon  the 
stranded  boat  began  to  list  over,  and  the  twenty-eight  men 
aboard  had  to  sit  on  the  gunwale. 

"We  could  scarcely  move,"  narrated  Lieutenant  Gerdts,  who 
commanded  the  stranded  boat.  "The  other  boat  was  nowhere 
in  sight.  Now  it  grew  dark.  At  this  stage  I  began  to  build  a  raft 
of  spars  and  old  pieces  of  wood  that  might  keep  us  afloat.  But 
soon  the  first  boat  came  into  sight  again.  The  commander 
turned  about  and  sent  over  his  little  canoe;  in  this  and  in  our 
own  canoe,  in  which  two  men  could  sit  at  each  trip,  we  first  trans- 
ferred the  sick.  Now  the  Arabs  began  to  help  us.  But  just  then 
the  tropical  helmet  of  our  doctor  suddenly  appeared  above  the 
water  in  which  he  was  standing  up  to  his  ears.  Thereupon  the 
Arabs  withdrew:  We  were  Christians,  and  they  did  not  know 
that  we  were  friends.  Now  the  other  sambuk  was  so  near  that 
we  could  have  swum  to  it  in  half  an  hour,  but  the  seas  were  too 
high.  At  each  trip  a  good  swimmer  trailed  along,  hanging  to  the 
painter  of  the  canoe.  When  it  became  altogether  dark  we  could 
not  see  the  boat  any  more,  for  over  there  they  were  prevented  by 
the  wind  from  keeping  any  light  burning.  My  men  asked:  *In 
what  direction  shall  we  swim?'  I  answered:  *Swim  in  the  direc- 
tion of  this  or  that  star ;  that  must  be  about  the  direction  of  the 
boat.'  Finally  a  torch  flared  up  over  there — one  of  the  torches 
that  was  still  left  from  the  Emden.  But  we  had  suffered  con- 
siderably through  submersion.  One  sailor  cried  out :  'Oh,  psha ! 
It's  all  up  with  us  now,  that's  a  searchlight.'  About  ten  o'clock 
we  were  all  safe  aboard,  but  one  of  our  typhus  patients  wore 
himself  out  completely  by  exertion  and  died  a  week  later.  On 
the  next  morning  we  went  over  again  to  the  wreck  in  order  to 
seek  the  weapons  that  had  fallen  into  the  water.  You  see,  the 
Arabs  dive  so  well;  they  fetched  up  a  considerable  lot — ^both 
machine  guns,  all  but  ten  of  the  rifles,  though  these  were,  to  be 
sure,  all  full  of  water.  Later  they  frequently  failed  to  go  off 
when  they  were  used  in  firing. 

STORY    OF    THE    "EMDEN"  203 

"Now  we  numbered,  together  with  the  Arabs,  seventy  men  on 
the  little  boat.  Then  we  anchored  before  Konfida  and  met  Sami 
Bey.  He  had  shown  himself  useful,  even  before,  in  the  service 
of  the  Turkish  Government,  and  had  done  good  service  as  a 
guide  in  the  last  months  of  the  adventure.  He  procured  for  us 
a  larger  boat  of  fifty-four  tons.  We  sailed  from  the  20th  of 
March,  1915,  to  the  24th,  unmolested  to  Lith.  There  Sami  Bey 
announced  that  three  English  ships  were  cruising  about  in  order 
to  intercept  us.  I  therefore  advised  traveling  a  bit  overland. 
I  disliked  leaving  the  sea  a  second  time,  but  it  had  to  be  done." 
Captain  Mucke  explained  that  Lith  is  nothing  but  desert, 
and  therefore  it  was  very  difficult  to  get  up  a  caravan  at  once. 
They  marched  away  on  March  28,  1915,  with  only  a  vague  suspi- 
cion that  the  English  might  have  agents  here  also.  They  could 
travel  only  at  night,  and  when  they  slept  or  camped  around  a 
spring,  there  was  only  a  tent  for  the  sick  men.  Two  days'  march 
from  Jeddah,  the  Turkish  Government  having  received  word 
about  the  crew,  sent  sixteen  good  camels. 

"Suddenly,  on  the  night  of  April  1,  1915,  things  became  un- 
easy," said  Captain  Mucke.     "I  was  riding  at  the  head  of  the 
column.    All  our  shooting  implements  were  cleared  for  action, 
because  there  was  danger  of  an  attack  from  Bedouins,  whom 
the  English  had  bribed.    When  it  began  to  grow  a  bit  light  I 
thought:  *  We're  through  for  to-day';  for  we  were  tired — had 
been  riding  eighteen  hours.  Suddenly  I  saw  a  line  flash  up  before 
me,  and  shots  whizzed  over  our  heads.    Down  from  the  camels ! 
iWe  formed  a  fighting  line.    You  know  how  quickly  it  becomes 
lylight  there.    The  whole  space  around  the  desert  hillock  was 
jcupied.    Now  we  had  to  take  up  our  guns.    We  rushed  at  the 
lemy.    They  fled,  but  returned  again,  this  time  from  all  sides. 
Several  of  the  gendarmes  that  had  been  given  to  us  as  an  escort 
rere  wounded;  the  machine-gun  operator  fell,  killed  by  a  shot 
trough  the  heart;  another  was  wounded.    Lieutenant  Schmidt 
^as  mortally  wounded.    He  received  a  bullet  in  the  chest  and 
Another  in  the  abdomen. 

'Suddenly,  they  waved  white  cloths.    The  sheik,  to  whom  a 
part  of  our  camels  belonged,  went  over  to  them  to  negotiate,  then 

204  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Sami  Bey  and  his  wife.  In  the  interim  we  quickly  built  a  sort 
of  wagon  barricade,  a  circular  camp  of  camel  saddles,  of  rice  and 
coffee  sacks,  all  of  which  we  filled  with  sand.  We  had  no  shovels, 
and  had  to  dig  with  our  bayonets,  plates,  and  hands.  The  whole 
barricade  had  a  diameter  of  fifty  meters.  Behind  it  were  dug 
trenches,  which  we  deepened  even  during  the  skirmish.  The 
camels  inside  had  to  lie  down,  and  thus  served  very  well  as  cover 
for  the  rear  of  the  trenches.  Then  an  inner  wall  was  constructed, 
behind  which  we  carried  the  sick  men.  In  the  very  center  we 
buried  two  jars  of  water,  to  guard  us  against  thirst.  In  addition 
we  had  ten  petroleum  cans  full  of  water;  all  told,  a  supply  for 
four  days.  Late  in  the  evening  Sami*s  wife  came  back  from  the 
futile  negotiations,  alone.  She  had  unveiled  for  the  first  and 
only  time  on  this  day  of  the  skirmish,  had  distributed  cartridges 
and  had  acted  faultlessly. 

"Soon  we  were  able  to  ascertain  the  number  of  the  enemy. 
There  were  about  300  men ;  we  numbered  fifty,  with  twenty-nine 
machine  guns.  In  the  night  Lieutenant  Schmidt  died.  We  had 
to  dig  his  grave  with  our  hands  and  with  our  bayonets,  and  to 
eliminate  every  trace  above  it,  in  order  to  protect  the  body. 
Rademacher  had  been  buried  immediately  after  the  skirmish 
with  all  honors. 

"The  wounded  had  a  hard  time  of  it.  We  had  lost  our 
medicine  chest  in  the  wreck;  we  had  only  little  packages  of 
bandages  for  skirmishes ;  but  no  probing  instrument,  no  scissors, 
were  at  hand.  On  the  next  day  our  men  came  up  with  thick 
tongues,  feverish,  and  crying :  *Water,  water  !*  But  each  one  re-  , 
ceived  only  a  little  cupful  three  times  each  day.  If  our  water 
supply  became  exhausted  we  would  have  to  sally  forth  from 
our  camp  and  fight  our  way  through.  At  night  we  always 
dragged  out  the  dead  camels  that  had  served  as  cover  and  had 
been  shot. 

"This  continued  about  three  days.  On  the  third  day  there 
were  new  negotiations.  Now  the  Bedouins  demanded  arms  no 
longer,  but  only  money.  This  time  the  negotiations  took  place 
across  the  camp  wall.  When  I  declined  the  Bedouin  said,  *Lots 
of  fight.'    I  said,  Tlease  go  to  it.' 

STORY   OF   THE   "EMDEN"  205 

"We  had  only  a  little  ammunition  left,  and  very  little  water. 
Now  it  really  looked  as  if  we  would  soon  be  dispatched.  The 
mood  of  the  men  was  pretty  dismal.  Suddenly,  at  about  ten 
o'clock  in  the  morning,  there  bobbed  up  in  the  north  two  riders 
on  camels,  waving  white  cloths.  Soon  afterward  there  appeared, 
coming  from  the  same  direction,  far  back,  a  long  row  of  camel 
troops,  about  a  hundred ;  they  drew  rapidly  nearer,  rode  singing 
toward  us,  in  a  picturesque  train.  They  were  the  messengers 
and  the  troops  of  the  Emir  of  Mecca. 

"Sami  Bey's  wife,  it  developed,  had  in  the  course  of  the  first 
negotiations,  dispatched  an  Arab  boy  to  Jeddah.  From  that 
place  the  governor  had  telegraphed  to  the  emir.  The  latter  at 
once  sent  camel  troops  with  his  two  sons  and  his  personal  sur- 
geon; the  elder,  Abdullah,  conducted  the  negotiations,  and  the 
surgeon  acted  as  interpreter  in  French.  Now  things  proceeded 
in  one-two-three  order,  and  the  whole  Bedouin  band  speedily  dis- 
appeared. From  what  I  learned  later  I  know  definitely  that  they 
had  been  corrupted  with  bribes  by  the  English.  They  knew  when 
and  where  we  would  pass,  and  they  had  made  all  preparations. 
Now  our  first  act  was  a  rush  for  water;  then  we  cleared  up  our 
camp,  but  had  to  harness  our  camels  ourselves,  for  the  camel 
drivers  had  fled  at  the  very  beginning  of  the  skirmish. 

"Then,  under  the  safe  protection  of  Turkish  troops,  we  got  to 
Jeddah.  There  the  authorities  and  the  populace  received  us  very 
well.  From  there  we  proceeded  in  nineteen  days  by  sail  boat  to 
Elwesh,  and  under  abundant  guard  with  the  Suleiman  Pasha, 
in  a  five-day  caravan  journeyed  to  El  Ula." 

"Have  I  received  the  Iron  Cross?*'  was  the  first  question  Cap- 
tain Mucke  asked  when  he  got  to  that  place,  and  old  newspapers 
which  he  found  there  told  him  that  he  had.  A  few  days  later  the 
)arty  was  on  train,  riding  toward  Germany. 

206  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 


SUMMARY     OP     THE     FIRST     YEAR     OP 

THE  first  year  of  the  war  came  to  an  end  in  August,  1915, 
with  the  naval  situation  much  the  same  as  it  stood  at  the  end 
of  the  first  six  months.  The  navy  of  practically  every  belligerent 
was  intact;  the  Allies  enjoyed  the  freedom  of  the  seas,  but  the 
fact  that  a  German  fleet  lay  intact  in  the  North  Sea,  and  an 
Austrian  fleet  lay  intact  in  the  Adriatic  Sea,  indicated  only  the 
naval  supremacy  of  the  Allies,  but  not  that  they  had  won  de- 
cisive naval  victories. 

As  there  had  been  no  victory  there  had  been  no  defeat,  yet 
there  had  been  losses  to  all  concerned.  The  mine  and  the  sub- 
marine had  changed  somewhat  the  methods  of  naval  warfare — 
the  enemies  "nibbled"  at  their  opponents'  fleets.  Battleships 
were  lost,  though  the  first  year  of  the  Great  War  had  seen  no 
pitched  battle  between  ships  of  that  class. 

During  the  second  six  months  of  the  war  England  lost  the  five 
old  battleships  Irresistible,  Ocean,  Goliath,  Triumph,  and  Ma- 
jestic; the  destroyers  Recruit  and  Maori;  and  the  submarine  E-15 
and  another  unidentified;  and  the  auxiliary  cruisers  Clan  Mc- 
Naughton,  Bayano,  and  Princess  Irene.  Her  ally  France  had 
lost,  during  the  same  period,  the  old  battleship  Bouvet,  the 
cruiser  Leon  Gambetta,  the  destroyer  Dague,  and  the  submarines 
Joule,  Mariotte,  and  one  unidentified. 

The  losses  on  the  other  side  were  confined  to  the  German  navy, 
with  the  exception  of  the  Turkish  cruiser  Medjidieh.  Germany 
lost  the  battleship  Pommern;  the  cruisers  Dresden  and  Konigs- 
berg;  the  submarines  U-12,  U-29,  U-8,  one  of  the  type  of  the  U-2, 
and  another  unidentified;  two  unidentified  torpedo  boats;  and 
the  auxiliary  cruisers  Prinz  Eitel  Friedrich  (interned) ,  Holger, 
Kronprinz  Wilhelm  (interned),  and  Macedonia.  Also  the  de- 
stroyer G'196,  the  mine  layer  Albatross,  and  the  auxiliary  cruiser 


In  retaliation  for  having  her  flag  swept  from  the  seas,  Ger- 
many's submarines,  during  the  second  six  months  of  the  war, 
had  sunk  a  total  of  153  merchant  ships,  including  those  belong- 
ing to  neutral  countries  as  well  as  to  her  enemies.  The  total 
tonnage  of  these  was  about  500,000  tons ;  1,643  persons  died  in 
going  down  with  these  ships. 

Not  of  the  least  importance  were  the  precedents  that  were 
established,  or  attempted  to  be  established,  by  Germany  in  con- 
ducting naval  warfare  with  her  submarine  craft.  In  a  note 
delivered  to  the  United  States  Government,  the  German  Govern- 
ment declared  that  British  merchant  vessels  were  not  only  armed 
and  instructed  to  resist  or  even  attack  submarines,  but  often  dis- 
guised as  to  nationality.  Under  such  circumstances  it  was 
assumed  to  be  impossible  for  a  submarine  commander  to  conform 
to  the  established  custom  of  visit  and  search.  Accordingly, 
vessels  of  neutral  nations  were  urgently  warned  not  to  enter  the 
submarine  war  zone.  The  war  zone  which  she  proclaimed  about 
Great  Britain  had  no  precedent  in  history,  and  it  immediately 
brought  to  her  door  a  number  of  controversies  with  neutrals, 
particularly  the  United  States.  The  sinking  of  liners  carrying 
passengers  claiming  citizenship  in  neutral  countries  was  another 
precedent,  which  had  the  same  effect  with  regard  to  diplomatic 

Predictions  that  had  been  made  long  before  the  war  came 

were  found  to  be  worthless ;  there  were  those  who  had  predicted 

that  Germany  in  the  event  of  war  with  England  would  give 

imediate  battle  with  her  largest  ships ;  but  twelve  months  went 

)y  without  an  actual  battle  between  superdreadnoughts.    "Der 

'ag"  had  not  come.    There  were  those  who  had  predicted  that 

le  British  navy  would  force  the  German  ships  out  of  their  pro- 

jted  harbors.    'We  shall  dig  the  rats  out  of  their  holes,"  said 

>.  Winston  Churchill,  British  Secretary  of  State  for  the  Navy 

the  early  months  of  the  war.     Mr.  Churchill  was  removed 

from  his  position,  and  twelve  months  passed  by  with  the  German 

ships  still  in  their  **holes." 

Certain  lessons  had  been  taught  naval  authorities  of  all  nations 
through  the  actual  use  of  the  modem  battleship  in  war.    The 

14— War  St.  a 

208  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

first  year  showed  that  the  largest  ships  must  have  very  high 
speed  and  long  gun  range.  To  some  extent  the  fact  that  the 
fighting  ships  of  nearly  all  of  the  belligerent  countries  were  thus 
equipped  changed  battle  tactics. 

When  the  allied  fleets  had  started  their  bombardment  of  the 
Turkish  forts  at  the  Dardanelles  they  were  breaking  certain 
well-defined  rules  which  had  been  axiomatic  with  naval  author- 
ities. The  greatest  of  modern  battleships  were  designed  to  fight 
with  craft  of  their  like,  but  not  to  take  issue  with  land  fortifica- 
tions. For  weeks,  while  the  fleets  succeeded  in  silencing  for  a 
time  some  of  the  Turkish  forts,  it  was  thought  that  this  rule  no 
longer  held  good.  But  when,  after  March  19,  1915,  the  fleets 
ceased  attempting  to  take  the  passage  without  military  coopera- 
tion, the  worth  of  the  rule  was  reestablished.  The  ease  with  which 
the  bombarding  ships  were  made  victims  of  hostile  submarines 
was  greatly  instrumental  in  making  the  rule  again  an  axiom. 

The  naval  supremacy  of  the  allied  powers  brought  them  cer- 
tain advantages — advantages  which  they  had  without  winning 
a  decisive  victory.  Germany  and  Austria  were  cut  off  from  the 
Western  Hemisphere,  and  were  troubled,  in  consequence,  by 
shortage  in  food  for  their  civilian  populations  to  a  greater  or 
lesser  degree.  This  was  perhaps  a  negative  benefit  derived  by 
the  Allies  from  their  naval  supremacy;  the  affirmative  benefit 
was  that  their  own  communications  with  the  Western  Hemi- 
sphere were  maintained,  enabling  them  not  only  to  get  food  for 
their  civilian  populations,  but  arms  and  munitions  for  their 
armies ;  and  even  financial  arrangements,  which,  if  their  emis- 
saries could  not  pass  back  and  forth  freely  could  not  have  been 
made,  depended  on  their  control  of  the  high  seas. 

They  were  able  to  keep  the  Channel  clear  of  submarines  long 
enough  to  permit  the  passage  of  the  troops,  which  England  from 
time  to  time  during  the  first  year  of  the  war  sent  to  the  Con" 
tinent,  and  permitted  the  participation  of  the  troops  of  the 
British  overseas  dominions,  the  troops  from  Canada  joining 
those  in  France,  and  the  troops  from  New  Zealand  and  Australia 
taking  their  places  in  the  trenches  along  the  Suez  Canal  and  on 
the  Gallipoli  Peninsula.    Thus,  to  a  certain  extent,  the  advantage 


of  continuous  railroad  communication  which  was  enjoyed  by  the 
Teutonic  allies  "inside"  the  arena  of  military  operations  was 
offset  by  the  naval  communication  maintained  by  the  Entente 
Powers  "outside"  the  arena  of  military  operations. 



WHEN,  on  the  5th  of  February,  1915,  the  German  admiralty 
proclaimed  a  "war  zone"  around  the  British  Isles  and 
announced  that  it  would  fight  the  sea  power  of  the  Allies  with 
submarines,  a  new  era  in  naval  warfare  had  opened.  In  all 
previous  wars,  and  in  the  earlier  months  of  the  Great  War, 
submarines  were  employed  as  auxiliaries  to  the  larger  naval 
units.  The  Germans  were  the  first  to  use  them  as  separate  units. 
The  idea  of  sending  a  fleet  of  submarines  out  on  to  the  high 
seas  was  a  new  one,  and  had  been  impossible  in  the  last  war  in 
which  they  had  been  used — ^that  between  Russia  and  Japan.  But 
the  improvements  which  had  been  made  in  their  design  and 
equipment  since  then  had  made  an  actual  cruising  submarine 
possible,  and  made  possible  the  new  phase  of  naval  warfare  in- 
augurated by  the  German  admiralty. 

While  Germany  was  the  last  great  sea  power  to  adopt  the  sub- 

Iiarine  as  a  weapon,  both  England  and  Germany,  in  the  years 
nmediately  preceding  the  war,  had  spent  the  same  amounts  of 
loney  on  this  sort  of  craft — about  $18,000,000 — but  while  the 
lermans  had  later  given  as  much  attention  to  them  as  to  any 
ther  sort  of  naval  craft,  the  British  authorities  did  not  figure 
on  employing  the  submarine  as  a  separate  offensive  tactical  unit 
being  sufficiently  equipped  in  large  ships  carrying  large  guns. 
And  being  weaker  in  capital  ships  Germany  was  compelled  to 
rely  upon  underwater  warfare  in  her  campaign  of  attrition.  Not 
only  were  the  naval  authorities  of  the  rest  of  the  world  unin- 
formed about  the  improvements  that  German  submarines  carried, 

210  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

but  they  were  fooled  even  as  to  the  actual  number  which  Ger- 
many had  built. 

The  most  modem  of  the  German  submarines  at  the  time  had 
a  length  of  213  feet  and  a  beam  of  twenty  feet,  these  dimensions 
giving  them  sufficient  deck  space  to  mount  thereon  two  rapid- 
fire  guns,  one  of  3.5  inches  and  another  of  1.4  inches.  Their  dis- 
placement was  900  tons,  and  they  could  make  a  speed  of  18 
knots  when  traveling  "light**  (above  water) ,  and  12  knots  when 
traveling  submerged.  These  speeds  made  it  possible  for  them 
to  overtake  all  but  the  fastest  merchantmen,  though  not  fast 
enough  to  run  away  from  destroyers,  gunboats,  and  fast  cruisers. 
Their  range  of  operation  was  2,000  miles,  and  in  the  early 
months  of  1915,  it  was  possible  for  Germany  to  send  two  or 
three  of  them  from  their  base  in  the  North  Sea  to  the  Mediter- 
ranean. Germany  was  at  the  same  time  experimenting  with  a 
larger  type,  with  a  displacement  of  1,200  tons  and  an  operating 
distance  of  5,000  miles. 

The  ordinary  submarine  in  service  at  the  beginning  of  the 
war  could  remain  below  the  surface  for  twenty-four  hours  at 
least.  Reserve  amounts  of  air  for  breathing  were  carried  in 
tanks  under  pressure,  and  in  the  German  type  there  were  also 
chemical  improvements  for  regenerating  air.  Contrary  to  the 
opinion  of  laymen,  submerging  was  accomplished  both  by  let- 
ting water  into  ballast  tanks,  and  also  by  properly  deflecting  a 
set  of  rudders ;  every  submarine  had  two  sets  of  rudders,  one  of 
which  worked  in  vertical  planes  and  pointed  the  prow  of  the  ship 
either  to  the  left  or  the  right ;  the  other  pair  worked  in  horizontal 
planes  and  turned  the  prow  either  upward  or  downward.  A 
pair  of  iins  on  the  sides  of  the  hull  assisted  action  in  both  rising 
and  diving.  The  action  of  water  against  the  fins  and  rudders 
when  the  ship  was  in  motion  was  exactly  the  same  as  that  of  the 
air  against  the  planes  of  a  kite ;  to  submerge  one  of  the  craft  it 
was  necessary  to  have  it  in  motion  and  to  have  its  horizontal 
rudders  so  placed  that  the  resistance  of  the  water  would  drive  the 
ship  downward ;  the  reverse  operation  drove  it  upward.  And  here 
lay  a  danger,  for  if  the  engines  of  a  diving  submarine  stopped 
she  was  bound  to  come  to  the  surface.     Her  presence,  while 


moving  entirely  submerged  could  be  detected  by  a  peculiar  swell 
which  traveled  on  the  water  above;  if  submerged  only  so  much 
as  to  leave  the  tip  of  her  periscope  still  showing,  the  latter  left 
an  easily  discernible  wake. 

The  periscope  was  merely  a  tube  in  which  there  were  arranged 
mirrors  so  that  anjrthing  reflected  in  the  first  mirror,  the  one 
above  the  surface  of  the  water,  was  again  reflected  till  it  showed 
in  a  mirror  at  the  bottom  of  the  tube,  within  the  hull  of  the 
vessel,  where  its  commander  could  observe  it  safely.  A  crew 
of  about  twenty-five  men  was  necessary  to  operate  one  of  these 
crafts,  and  theirs  was  an  unpleasant  duty,  first  because  of  the 
danger  that  accompanied  each  submergence  of  their  vessel;  second 
because  of  the  discomforts  abroad.  The  explosive  engines  which 
drove  the  craft,  whether  burning  oil  or  the  lighter  refinements 
such  as  gasoline,  gave  off  gases  that  caused  headaches  and 
throbbing  across  the  forehead ;  and  it  was  almost  impossible  to 
heat  the  interior  of  the  craft. 

Though  merchantmen  had  gone  to  the  bottom  as  victims  of 
German  submarines  before  the  proclamation  of  a  "war  zone"  was 
issued  they  were  individual  cases;  the  first  instance  of  a  mer- 
chant ship  being  sunk  as  a  result  of  the  new  policy  of  the  Ger- 
man admiralty  was  the  sinking  of  the  British  steamer  Camhark 
on  the  20th  of  February,  1915.  This  ship  was  bound  for  Liver- 
pool, from  Huelva,  Spain.  While  off  the  north  coast  of  Wales,  on 
the  morning  of  the  20th,  the  periscope  of  a  hostile  submarine  was; 
sighted  only  200  yards  ahead.  The  engines  of  the  steamship 
were  immediately  reversed,  but  she  had  no  time  to  make  off, 
for  a  torpedo  caught  her  amidships  and  she  started  to  sink  im- 
[mediately.  Her  crew  managed  to  get  off  in  small  boats,  but 
(all  of  their  personal  belongings  were  lost. 

The  small  Irish  coasting  steamer  Downshire  was  made  a  victim 
[on  the  21st  of  February,  1915,  but  instead  of  sending  a  torpedo 
[into  her  hull,  the  commander  of  the  U-12,  the  submarine  which 
^overhauled  her,  resorted  to  boarding.  After  trying  to  elude  the 
[submarine  by  steering  a  zigzag  course,  the  Downshire  was  finally 
[overtaken.  The  crew  was  ordered  to  take  to  the  small  boats, 
^hile  nineteen  men  of  the  submarine,  which  had  come  above 

212  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT    WAR 

water,  watched  the  operations  from  the  deck.  A  crew  from  the 
submarine  took  one  of  the  small  boats  of  the  steamship  and 
rowed  toward  her.  They  placed  a  bomb  in  a  vital  spot  and  set 
it  off,  sinking  the  merchantman.  In  this  way  the  submariners 
commander  had  saved  a  torpedo.  A  conversation  which  took 
place  between  the  captains  of  the  two  craft  revealed  the  methods 
by  which  the  submarine  commanders  were  able,  not  only  to 
steal  up  on  their  intended  victims,  but  to  elude  being  sighted 
by  the  patrolling  British  warships.  Some  fishing  smacks  had 
been  in  the  vicinity  while  the  Downshire  was  sunk,  and  the 
British  captain  asked  the  German  captain  why  they  had  not 
been  attacked.  The  latter  hinted  that  his  plans  worked  best 
if  the  fishing  boats  were  unmolested.  When  asked  whether 
he  had  hidden  behind  one  these  little  boats  he  changed  the  sub- 
ject, but  it  was  learned  later  that  the  commanders  of  the  sub- 
marines made  a  practice  of  coming  to  the  surface  right  neaf 
fishing  boats  and  bade  them  act  as  screens  while  they  lay  in 
wait  for  victims.  By  keeping  the  small  boats  covered  with  a 
deck  gun  or  by  putting  a  boarding  crew  aboard,  it  was  possible 
for  the  commanders  of  the  submarines  to  keep  their  persicop^s 
or  the  hulls  of  their  vessels  behind  the  sails  of  the  fishing  boats, 
unobservable  to  lookouts  on  larger  ships. 

By  the  23d  of  February,  1915,  the  success  of  German  sub- 
marines had  been  so  marked  that  the  insurance  rates  on  mer- 
chantmen went  up.  Lloyd's  underwriters  announced  that  the  rate 
on  transatlantic  passage  had  gone  up  nearly  one  per  cent.  And 
on  the  same  day  it  was  announced  that  the  British  Government 
would  thereafter  regulate  steamship  traffic  in  the  Irish  Sea. 
Certain  areas  of  the  Irish  Sea  were  closed  to  all  kinds  of  traffic ; 
lines  of  passage  were  defined  and  had  to  be  followed  by  all  mer- 
chantmen, and  vessels  of  all  descriptions  were  ordered  to  keep 
away  from  certain  parts  of  the  coast  from  sunset  to  sunrise. 

The  comparatively  small  size  of  the  submarines  made  it  pos- 
sible for  the  German  admiralty  to  load  them  on  to  trains  in 
sections  and  transport  them  where  needed,  and  in  this  manner 
some  were  sent  from  the  German  ports  on  the  North  Sea  to 
Zeebrugge,  there  assembled  and  launched.    Others  were  sent  to 


the  Adriatic,  arriving  at  Pola  on  the  25th  of  February,  1915. 
These  were  intended  for  use  in  the  Mediterranean  as  well  as 
in  the  Adriatic  Sea. 

Neutral  ships,  in  order  to  escape  attack  by  German  submarines 
had  to  resort  to  unusual  methods  of  self-identification.  The 
use  of  flags  belonging  to  neutral  countries  by  the  merchantmen  of 
belligerent  powers  made  the  usual  identification  by  colors  almost 
impossible,  the  German  admiralty  claiming  that  the  commanders 
of  submarines  were  unable  to  wait  long  enough,  after  stopping 
a  vessel,  to  ascertain  whether  she  had  a  right  to  fly  one  flag 
or  another.  Consequently  the  ships  belonging  to  Dutch  and 
American  lines  had  their  names  painted  with  large  lettering 
along  their  sides.  At  night,  streamers  of  electric  lights  were  hung 
over  the  sides  to  illuminate  these  letterings;  and  on  the  decks 
of  many  of  the  neutral  ships  their  names  and  nationalities  wer:e 
painted  in  large  letters  so  that  they  might  be  identified  by  air- 
craft. Owing  to  such  precautions  the  Dutch  steamship  Prinzes 
Juliana  escaped  being  sunk  by  a  torpedo  on  the  3d  of  March, 
1915.  A  submarine  ran  a  parallel  course  to  that  followed  by 
the  Dutch  ship,  but  after  examining  the  lettering  on  her  sides 
the  commander  of  the  German  craft  saw  that  she  was  not  legit- 
imate game  and  turned  off. 

Not  always  did  the  German  submarines  themselves  succeed  in 
escaping  unharmed  in  their  raiding  of  allied  merchantmen.  Re- 
wards were  offered  in  Great  Britain  for  the  sinking  of  German 
submersibles  by  the  commanders  of  British  merchantmen.  In- 
structions were  issued  in  the  British  shipping  periodicals,  show- 
ing how  a  submarine  might  be  sunk  by  being  rammed.  It  was 
officially  announced  on  the  5th  of  March,  1915,  by  the  British 
admiralty,  that  the  U-S  had  been  rammed  and  sunk  by  a  British 
rarship.  The  crew  of  twenty-nine  was  rescued  and  brought  to 
iover.  For  the  British  this  was  a  stroke  of  good  fortune,  for 
^hile  the  TJ-8  was  of  an  earlier  type  it  was  a  dangerous  craft, 
Lving  a  total  displacement  of  300  tons,  a  radius  of  operation  of 
[,200  miles,  a  speed  of  13  knots  when  traveling  "light"  and  a 
>eed  of  8  knots  when  submerged.  On  the  same  day  the  French 
linister  of  marine  announced  that  a  FrencJh  warship  had  come 

214  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT    WAR 

upon  a  German  submarine  of  the  type  of  the  U-2  in  the  North 
Sea  and  that  after  firing  at  the  hull  of  the  vessel  and  hitting  it 
three  times  it  was  seen  to  sink  and  did  not  reappear. 

During  the  last  week  of  February  and  the  first  week  of  March, 
1915,  bad  weather  on  the  waters  surrounding  the  British  Isles 
hampered  the  operations  of  German  submarines  to  an  extent 
which  led  the  British  public  to  believe  that  the  submarine  war- 
fare on  merchantmen  had  been  abandoned,  but  they  were  disil- 
lusioned when  on  the  9th  of  March,  1915,  three  British  ships  were 
sunk  by  the  underwater  craft.  The  steamship  Tangistan  was 
torpedoed  off  Scarborough,  the  Blackwood  off  Hastings  and  the 
Princess  Victoria  near  Liverpool.  Part  of  this  was  believed  to 
be  the  work  of  the  17-16. 

In  the  three  days  beginning  March  10,  1915,  eight  ships  were 
made  victims  of  German  submarines  in  the  waters  about  the 
British  Isles.  Most  novel  was  the  experience  of  a  crowd  gathered 
on  the  shore  of  one  of  the  Scilly  Islands  on  March  12,  1915, 
when  two  of  these  eight  ships,  the  Indian  City  and  the  Head- 
lands, were  torpedoed.  At  about  eight  in  the  morning  the 
islanders  on  St.  Mary's  Island  saw  a  German  submarine  over- 
take the  former  and  sink  her.  The  German  vessel  then  remained 
in  the  adjacent  waters  to  watch  for  the  approach  of  another 
victim,  while  two  patrol  boats  near  by  put  out  and  opened  fire 
on  her.  The  crowd  saw  the  enemies  exchange  shots  at  a  distance 
of  ten  miles  off  shore.  But  neither  side  put  in  any  effective  shots, 
and  the  combat  ended  when  the  submarine  dived  and  retired. 

The  steamship  Headlands  was  then  sighted  by  the  commander 
of  the  submarine  and  he  immediately  started  to  pursue  her.  The 
steamship  steered  a  zigzag  course,  but  the  submarine  got  in  a 
position  to  launch  a  torpedo,  and  at  about  half  past  ten  in  the 
morning  the  crowd  on  the  shore  saw  steam  escaping  from  her  in 
large  quantities.  Some  time  after  they  saw  a  large  volume  of 
black  smoke  and  debris  fly  upward  and  they  knew  that  another 
torpedo  had  found  its  mark.  She  then  settled,  her  crew  and  the 
men  from  the  Indian  City  reaching  St.  Mary's  in  small  boats. 

To  keep  British  harbors  free  from  the  German  submarines  the 
British  admiralty  had  to  set  their  engineers  to  work  to  devise 

FIGHTS    OF   THE    SUBMARINES       '  215 

some  method  of  trapping  the  underwater  craft  automatically, 
for  there  seemed  to  be  no  sort  of  patrol  which  they  could  not 
elude.  Steel  traps,  not  unlike  the  gill  nets  used  by  fishermen, 
were  finally  hit  upon  as  the  best  thing  to  use  against  the  sub- 
marines, and  by  March  13, 1915,  a  number  of  these  were  installed 
at  entrances  to  some  of  the  British  harbors.  They  were  made 
of  malleable  iron  frames,  ten  feet  square,  used  in  sets  of  threes, 
so  arranged  that  they  might  hold  a  submarine  by  the  sides  and 
have  the  third  of  the  set  buckle  against  its  bottom.  They  were 
suspended  by  buoys  about  thirty  feet  below  the  surface  of  the 
water.  When  a  submarine  entered  one  of  these  it  was  held 
fast,  for  the  frame  which  came  up  from  the  bottom  caught  the 
propeller  and  made  it  impossible  for  the  submarine  to  work 
itself  loose.  The  disadavantage  to  the  submarine  was  that, 
while  traveling  under  water,  it  traveled  "blind" ;  the  periscopes 
in  use  were  good  only  for  observation  when  the  top  of  them 
were  above  water;  when  submerged  the  commander  of  a  sub- 
marine had  to  steer  by  chart.  By  the  end  of  March,  1915,  a 
dozen  submarines  had  been  caught  in  nets  of  this  kind. 

I  By  the  18th  of  March,  1915,  three  more  British  ships  had  been 
made  the  victims  of  German  torpedoes.  The  Atlanta  was  sunk 
©ff  the  west  coast  of  Ireland  only  a  day  before  the  Fingal  was 
sunk  off  Northumberland.  And  the  Leeuwarden  was  sunk  by 
being  hit  from  the  deck  guns  of  a  German  submarine  off  the  coast 
of  Holland.  There  was  no  loss  of  life  except  during  the  sinking 
of  the  Fingal,  some  of  whose  men  were  drowned  when  she 
dragged  a  lifeboat  full  of  men  down  with  her. 

By  way  of  variety  the  Germans  attempted  to  sink  a  British 
ship  in  the  "war  zone"  with  bombs  dropped  from  an  airship, 
the  news  of  which  was  brought  to  England  by  the  crew  and 
captain  of  the  Blonde  when  they  reached  shore  on  March  18, 
1915.  This  ship  had  been  German  originally,  but  being  in  a 
British  port  when  the  war  started  was  taken  over  and  run  by 
a  British  crew.  Two  or  three  mornings  before  the  men  landed 
they  had  noticed  a  Taube  aeroplane  circling  over  their  ship  at 
about  500  feet  altitude.  It  then  swept  downward  and  took  a 
close  look  at  the  vessel.    Two  bombs  which  fell  into  the  water 

216  THE    STORY   OF  THE    GREAT   WAR 

near  the  ship,  were  dropped  by  the  German  aviator.  The  captain 
of  the  Blonde  ordered  that  the  rudder  of  his  ship  be  fastened  so 
that  she  might  drive  in  a  circle  and  her  engines  were  set  at  full 
speed,  with  the  intention  of  making  a  more  difficult  target  for 
the  airship's  bombs.  The  whistle  of  the  ship  was  set  going  and 
continued  to  blow  in  the  hope  of  attracting  help  from  other  ships. 
More  bombs  were  near  the  vessel,  but  none  of  them  found  its 
mark.  After  one  more  attempt,  when  only  300  feet  above  the 
ship's  deck,  the  aviator  let  go  with  his  last  supply,  but  again 
being  unsuccessful  he  veered  off  to  the  north  and  allowed  the 
Blonde  to  escape. 

The  naval  attack  on  the  Dardanelles  is  told  in  another  chapter, 
but  the  work  of  the  Allies'  submarines  there  included  the  use 
of  French  submarines,  which  is  not  narrated  elsewhere.  On  the 
19th  of  March,  1915,  Rear  Admiral  Guepratte  of  the  French 
navy  reported  that  one  of  his  submarines  had  attempted,  without 
success,  to  run  through  the  Dardanelles.  The  object  of  the 
attempt  was  to  sink  the  Turkish  battle  cruiser  Sultan  Selim, 
formerly  the  Goeben.  The  submarine  submerged  and  got  as  far 
as  Nagara.  But  she  had  to  travel  *'blind"  and  her  captain,  being 
unfamiliar  with  those  waters,  struck  some  rocks  near  the  shore 
and  immediately  brought  her  to  the  surface.  She  became  a 
target  for  the  land  guns  of  the  Turks  at  once  and  was  sunk,  only 
a  few  of  her  men,  who  were  taken  prisoners,  escaping  death. 

On  the  19th  of  March,  1915,  the  British  admiralty  reported 
that  the  three  British  ships,  Hyndford,  Bluejacket,  and  Glen- 
artney  had  been  torpedoed  in  the  "war  zone"  without  warning, 
with  the  loss  of  only  one  man.  Beachy  Head  in  the  British  Chan- 
nel had  been  the  scene  of  most  of  the  operations  of  German  sub- 
marines against  British  ships,  and  consequently,  when  on  the 
21st  of  March,  1915,  the  collier  Cairntorr  was  torpedoed  in  that 
region,  no  unusual  comment  was  made  by  the  admiralty.  Here- 
tofore the  scene  of  the  latest  attack  had  been  thought  worthy  of 
mention  on  account  of  the  unusual  and  unexpected  places  that 
submarines  chose  for  action. 

A  new  phase  of  the  submarines'  activities  was  opened  on 
March  21,  1915,  when  two  Dutch  ships  Batavier  V  and  Zaaiv- 


stroom  were  held  up  and  captured.  The  U-28  had  for  some  days 
been  hiding  near  the  Maas  Lightship,  and  had  been  taking  shots 
with  torpedoes  at  every  ship  which  came  within  range.  The 
Batavier  V  had  left  the  Hook  of  Holland  on  March  18,  1915.  At 
about  five  o'clock  that  morning  she  came  near  the  Maas  Lightship 
on  her  way  to  England,  whence  she  was  carrying  provisions  and 
a  register  of  fifty-seven  persons,  including  passengers  and  crew ; 
among  the  former  there  were  a  number  of  women  and  children. 
Suddenly  a  submarine  appeared  off  her  port  bow,  and  her  cap- 
tain was  ordered  to  stop  his  ship.  This  he  did  readily,  for  he  had 
been  thus  stopped  before,  only  to  be  allowed  to  proceed.  But  this 
time  the  commander  of  the  submarine,  the  U-28,  shouted  to  him 
through  a  megaphone :  "I  am  going  to  confiscate  your  ship  and 
take  it  to  Zeebrugge." 

While  the  two  commanders  were  arguing  over  the  illegality  of 
this,  the  Zaanstroom  was  sighted,  and  was  immediately  overtaken 
by  the  submarine.  An  officer  and  a  sailor  from  the  submarine 
had  been  placed  on  the  Batavier  V,  and  this  prevented  her  escap- 
ing while  the  pursuit  of  the  Zaanstroom  was  on.  A  similar  detail 
was  now  placed  on  the  latter,  and  her  captain  was  ordered  to 
follow  the  U-28  which  returned  to  the  Batavier  V.  "Follow  me 
to  Zeebrugge"  was  the  order  which  the  commander  of  the  sub- 
marine gave  the  two  ships,  and  their  captains  obeyed.  They 
arrived  at  Zeebrugge  at  noon,  and  were  immediately  un- 
loaded. Those  of  the  passengers  and  crews  who  were  citizens 
of  neutral  countries  were  sent  to  Ghent  and  there  released, 
while  all  those  aboard,  such  as  Belgians  and  Frenchmen,  wer* 

When  possible,  the  commanders  of  the  German  submarines 
saved  their  costly  torpedoes  and  used  shell  fire  instead  to  sink 
their  victims.  This  was  done  in  the  case  of  the  steamship  Vosges, 
which  was  sunk  on  March  28,  1915.  For  two  hours,  while  the 
engines  of  the  steamship  were  run  at  full  speed  in  an  attempt  to 
get  away  from  the  submarine,  she  was  under  fire  from  two  deck 
guns  on  board  the  submersible.  Though  the  latter  made  off  at 
the  approach  of  another  vessel,  her  shells  did  enough  damage  to 
cause  the  Vosges  to  sink  a  few  hours  later 

218  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Up  to  the  middle  of  March,  1915,  all  the  ships  which  had  be- 
come victims  of  German  submarines  had  been  of  the  slower  coast- 
ing variety.  There  had  been  numerous  unconfirmed  reports  that 
the  faster  transatlantic  ships  had  been  chased,  but  no  credence 
had  been  given  to  them.  On  the  27th  of  March,  1915,  however, 
when  the  Arabic  arrived  at  Liverpool  it  was  reported  by  those  on 
board  that  she  had  given  a  submarine  a  lively  chase  and  had 
gotten  away  safely.  At  about  nine  o'clock  the  evening  before  the 
submarine  was  sighted  off  Holyhead.  She  was  only  200  yards 
ahead,  and  while  her  commander  jockeyed  for  a  position  from 
which  he  could  successfully  launch  a  torpedo,  the  commander  of 
the  Arabic  gave  the  order  "Full  speed  ahead."  His  passengers 
lined  the  rail  of  the  ship  to  watch  the  maneuvers.  Soon  the 
steamship  had  up  a  speed  of  18  knots,  which  was  a  bit  too  fast 
for  the  submarine,  and  she  fell  to  the  rearward.  Her  chance  for 
launching  a  torpedo  was  gone,  but  she  brought  her  deck  guns  into 
action,  firing  two  shots  which  went  wild.  The  Arabic  proceeded 
to  port  unmolested. 

At  times  even  the  cost  of  shell  fire  was  figured  by  the  com- 
manders of  German  submarines,  and  pistol  and  rifles  were  used 
instead.  This  was  done  in  the  case  of  the  Delmira  on  the  26th  of 
March,  1915.  This  steamship  was  sunk  off  Boulogne.  Ten 
minutes  were  given  by  the  crew  of  the  submarine  to  the  crew  of 
the  steamship  for  them  to  get  off.  The  submarine  had  come  up 
off  the  bow  of  the  Delmira,  and  men  standing  on  the  deck  of  the 
former  had  fired  shots  toward  the  bridge  of  the  latter  to  make 
her  captain  bring  her  to  a  stop.  The  latter  ordered  his  engines 
started  again  at  full  speed,  with  the  intention  of  ramming  the 
enemy,  but  his  Chinese  stokers  refused  to  obey  the  order,  and 
his  ship  did  not  move.  The  crew  of  the  steamship  got  into  their 
small  boats,  and  for  an  hour  and  a  half  these  were  towed  by  the 
submarine  so  that  their  row  to  shore  would  not  be  so  long.  Though 
torpedoed,  the  Delmira  did  not  sink,  and  was  last  seen  in  a  burn- 
ing condition  off  the  French  coast  near  Cape  de  la  Hogue. 

The  sinking  of  the  steamship  Falaba,  which  is  mentioned, 
though  not  narrated  in  full,  in  another  chapter,  was  the  last  act 
of  German  submarines  during  the  month  of  March,  1915.    This 




ship  on  the  29th  of  March,  1915,  was  overtaken  by  a  German 
submarine  in  St.  George's  Channel.  She  was  engaged  in  the 
African  trade,  voyaging  between  the  African  ports  and  Liver- 
pool. On  her  last  journey  she  carried  a  crew  of  90  men  and  some 
160  passengers,  many  of  the  latter  being  women  and  children. 
The  commander  of  the  submarine  brought  his  craft  to  the  sur- 
face off  the  bow  of  the  Falaba,  and  gave  the  captain  of  the  steam- 
ship five  minutes  in  which  to  put  his  crew  and  passengers  into 
lifeboats.  A  torpedo  was  sent  against  her  hull  and  found  the 
engine  room,  causing  a  tremendous  explosion.  One  hundred  and 
eleven  persons  lost  their  lives  because  they  had  not  been  able  to 
get  off  in  time,  or  because  they  were  too  near  the  liner  when  she 
went  down.  This  was  the  most  important  merchantman  which 
had  been  sent  to  the  bottom  by  a  submarine  since  the  proclama" 
tion  of  February  15,  1915. 

The  next  two  victims  of  this  sort  of  warfare  were  the  steam- 
ships Flaminian  and  the  Crown  of  Castile,  one  of  which  was 
sunk  by  the  U-28,  and  the  other  by  an  unidentified  submarine  on 
April  1,  1915.  They  went  down  off  the  west  coast  of  England 
with  no  loss  of  life,  though  the  Crown  of  Castile  was  torpedoed 
before  her  crew  could  get  off.  The  Flaminian  had  tried  to  get 
away,  but  had  to  stop  under  fire  from  deck  guns  on  the  sub- 

arine.  The  shells  did  not  hit  her  in  vital  spots,  however,  and 
it  was  necessary  to  send  a  torpedo  into  her  hull  to  sink  her. 

The  ease  with  which  submarines  had  been  able  to  bob  up  in  un- 
expected places  and  to  sink  British  merchantmen,  in  spite  of  the 
patrols  maintained  by  British  warships,  caused  the  captains  of 
merchant  vessels  to  petition  the  British  Government  to  be  allowed 
to  arm  their  vessels  on  April  1,  1915.    This  was  not  granted,  be- 

use  their  being  armed  would  have  made  the  steamship  legiti- 
mate prey  for  the  submarines,  nor  was  any  attention  paid  to  the 
demand  made  by  the  British  press  that  the  crews  and  officers  of 
aptured  German  submarines  be  treated,  not  as  prisoners  of  war, 
ut  as  pirates.    Reprisals  on  the  part  of  the  Germans  was  feared. 

Beachy  Head  on  the  1st  of  April,  1915,  was  again  the  scene  of 

o  successful  attacks  on  merchantmen  by  submarines.  On  that 
ay  the  French  steamship  Emma,  after  being  torpedoed,  went  to 

220  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  bottom  with  all  of  the  nineteen  men  in  her  crew.  The  same 
submarine  sank  the  British  steamer  Seven  Seas,  causing  the 
deaths  of  eleven  of  her  men. 

In  order  to  indicate  the  amount  of  harm  which  the  submarine 
warfare  caused  British  shipping,  the  admiralty  on  April  1,  1915, 
announced  that  though  five  merchantmen  had  been  sent  to  the 
bottom  and  one  had  been  only  partially  damaged  by  submarines 
during  the  week  ending  March  31,  1915,  some  1,559  vessels 
entered  and  sailed  from  British  ports  during  the  same  period. 

Efforts  were  made  to  damage  the  base,  from  which  many  of 
the  German  submarines  had  been  putting  out  at  Zeebrugge,  with 
aircraft.  On  the  1st  of  April,  1915,  the  British  Government's 
press  bureau  announced  that  bombs  had  been  dropped,  with  un- 
known success,  on  two  German  submarines  lying  there,  and  that 
on  the  same  day  a  British  airman  had  flown  over  Hoboken  and 
had  seen  submarines  in  building  there. 

The  steamship  Lockwood,  while  off  Start  Point  in  Devonshire, 
was  hit  abaft  the  engine  room  by  a  German  torpedo  on  the  morn- 
ing of  April  2,  1915,  and  though  she  went  down  almost  immedi- 
ately, her  crew  was  able  to  get  off  in  small  boats  and  were  picked 
up  by  fishing  travelers. 

The  U-28,  which  had  done  such  effective  work  for  the  Germans 
during  the  month  of  March,  1915,  was  relieved  of  duty  near  the 
British  Isles  during  the  first  week  of  April  by  the  U.-Sl,  which 
sank  the  Russian  bark  Hermes  and  the  British  steamship  Olivine 
off  the  coast  of  Wales  on  April  5,  1915, 

The  British  admiralty  decided  in  April,  1915,  to  use  some  other 
means  besides  the  employment  of  torpedo  boats  and  destroyers 
to  keep  watch  for  German  submarines,  and  innocent-looking  fish- 
ing trawlers  were  used  for  the  purpose.  While  these  could  give 
no  fight  against  a  submarine,  it  was  intended  that  they  would 
carefully  make  for  land  to  report  after  sighting  one  of  the  hostile 
craft.  The  Germans,  discovering  this  strategy,  then  began  to 
sink  trawlers  when  they  found  them.  On  the  morning  of  April 
5,  1915,  one  of  these  small  craft  was  sighted  and  chased  by  the 
'U'20,  After  a  pursuit  of  an  hour  or  more  the  German  ship  was 
near  enough  for  members  of  her  crew  to  fire  on  the  trawler  with 


rifles.    Her  crew  got  into  the  small  boat  and  were  picked  up  later 
by  a  steamer.    The  trawler  was  sent  to  the  bottom. 

The  U-20  still  kept  up  her  raiding.  On  the  5th  of  April,  1915, 
she  overtook  the  steamer  Northland,  a  2,000-ton  ship,  and  tor- 
pedoed her  off  Beachy  Head.  The  crew  of  the  steamer  were  able 
to  escape,  although  their  ship  went  down  only  ten  minutes  after 
the  submarine  caught  up  with  it. 

The  use  of  nets  to  catch  submarines  was  vindicated,  when  on 
the  6th  of  April,  1915,  one  of  these  vessels  became  entangled  in 
a  steel  net  near  Dover  and  was  held  fast.  The  loss  of  the  11-29, 
which  was  commanded  by  the  famous  Otto  von  Weddigen,  who 
commanded  the  U-9  when  she  sank  the  Hogue,  Cressy,  and 
Aboukir  in  September,  1914,  was  confirmed  by  a  report  issued 
by  the  German  admiralty  on  April  7,  1915,  after  rumors  of  her 
loss  had  circulated  throughout  England  and  France  for  a  num- 
ber of  weeks. 

In  order  to  encourage  resistance  on  the  part  of  crews  of  British 
vessels  attacked  by  German  submarines,  the  British  Govern- 
ment rewarded  the  crew  of  the  steamship  Vosges.  It  was  an- 
nounced on  April  9,  1915,  that  the  captain  had  been  given  a  com- 
mission as  a  lieutenant  in  the  Royal  Naval  Reserve  and  the  Dis- 
tinguished Service  Cross ;  the  remaining  officers  were  given  gold 
watches,  and  the  crew  were  given  $15  per  man. 

Rumors  had  reached  the  outside  world  that  the  German  sub- 
marines were  using  hidden  spots  to  store  fuel  and  provisions  so 
that  they  might  go  about  their  raiding  without  having  to  return 
German  ports  for  reprovisioning  Neutral  nations,  such  as 
he  Netherlands  and  Norway,  found  it  necessary,  to  maintain 
their  neutrality,  to  keep  watch  for  such  action.  On  the  9th  of 
pril,  1915,  Norwegian  airmen  reported  to  their  Government 
at  such  a  cache  had  been  discovered  by  them  behind  the  cliif  s  in 
i^Bergen  Bay.  Submarines  found  there  were  ordered  to  intern  or 
^Ko  leave  immediately,  and  chose  to  do  the  latter. 
^B  Certain  acts  of  the  commanders  of  German  submarines  seemed 
^Bo  make  it  evident  that  their  intention  was  to  sink  ships  of  every 
^Blescription,  no  matter  where  found,  in  order  to  make  the  "war 
zone"  a  reality,  and  to  make  it  shunned  by  neutral  as  well  as 


222  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

belligerent  ships.  Thus  the  Dutch  steamship  Katwyk,  which  lay 
at  anchor  seven  miles  west  of  the  North  Hinder  Lightship  off  the 
Dutch  coast,  was  sunk.  This  lightship  was  maintained  by  the 
Netherlands  Government  and  stood  at  the  mouth  of  the  River 
Scheldt,  forty-five  miles  northwest  of  Flushing.  The  Katwyk 
was  stationary  there  on  the  night  of  April  14,  1915,  when  the 
crew  felt  a  great  shock  and  saw  that  their  ship  was  rapidly  tak- 
ing water.  They  managed  to  reach  the  lightship  in  their  life- 
boats just  as  their  vessel  sank.  The  same  submarine  sank  the 
British  steamer  Ptarmigan  only  a  few  hours  later. 

Among  victims  flying  the  flags  of  neutral  nations  the  next  ship 
was  of  American  register.  This  was  the  tank  steamship  Gulf- 
light,  which  was  torpedoed  off  the  Scilly  Islands  on  the  29th  of 
May,  1915.  The  hole  made  in  her  hull  was  not  large  enough  to 
cause  her  to  sink,  and  she  was  able  to  get  to  port.  But  during  the 
excitement  of  the  attack  her  captain  died  of  heart  failure  and  two 
of  her  crew  jumped  into  the  sea  and  were  drowned.  Three  days 
later  the  French  steamship  Europe  and  the  British  ship  Fulgent 
were  sent  to  the  bottom,  probably  by  the  same  submarine. 

The  month  of  May,  1915,  had  opened  with  greater  activity  on 
the  part  of  German  submarines  than  had  been  shown  for  many 
weeks  previous.  Between  the  1st  and  the  3d  of  that  month  seven 
ships  were  torpedoed,  four  of  them  being  British,  one  Swedish, 
and  two  Norwegian.  By  the  5th  of  May,  1915,  ten  British 
trawlers  had  been  sunk ;  some  of  these  were  armed  for  attack  on 
either  German  submarines  or  torpedo  boats. 



ON  the  7th  of  May,  1915,  came  the  most  sensational  act  com- 
mitted by  German  submarines  since  the  war  had  started — the 
sinking  of  the  Cunard  liner  Lusitania,  The  vessel  which  did  this 
was  one  of  the  V-39  class.    In  her  last  hours  above  water  the 

:^iiiiiiiiiiiiiii Ill iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii I nil iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii 


5?S  I 

«  5 

*5  i 


giant  liner  was  nearing  Queenstown  on  a  sunny  day  in  a  calm  sea. 
When  about  five  miles  off  shore,  near  Old  Head  of  Kinsale,  on  the 
soutiieastem  coast  of  Ireland,  a  few  minutes  after  two  o'clock, 
while  many  of  the  passengers  were  at  lunch  and  a  few  of  them 
on  deck,  there  came  a  violent  shock. 

Five  or  six  persons  who  had  been  on  deck  had  noticed,  a  few 
moments  before,  the  wake  of  something  that  was  moving  rapidly 
toward  the  ship.  The  moving  object  was  a  torpedo,  which  struck 
the  hull  to  the  forward  on  1*ie  starboard  side  and  passed  clean 
through  the  ship's  engine  room.  She  began  to  settle  by  the  bows 
immediately,  and  the  passengers,  though  cool,  made  rushes  for 
lifebelts  and  for  the  small  boats.  The  list  of  the  boat  made  the 
launching  of  some  of  these  impossible. 

The  scenes  on  the  decks  of  the  sinking  liner  were  heartrending. 
Members  of  families  had  become  separated  and  ran  wildly  about 
seeking  their  relatives.  The  women  and  children  were  put  into 
the  lifeboats — ^being  given  preference. 

"I  was  on  the  deck  about  two  o'clock,"  narrated  one  of  the  sur- 
vivors, "the  weather  was  fine  and  bright  and  the  sea  calm.  Sud- 
denly I  heard  a  terrific  explosion,  followed  by  another,  and  the  cry. 
went  up  that  the  ship  had  been  torpedoed.  She  began  to  list  at 
once,  and  her  angle  was  so  great  that  many  of  the  boats  on  the 
port  side  could  not  be  launched.  A  lot  of  people  made  a  rush  for 
the  boats,  but  I  went  down  to  my  cabin,  took  off  my  coat  and 
vest  and  donned  a  lifebelt.  On  getting  up  again  I  found  the 
decks  awash  and  the  boat  going  down  fast  by  the  head.  I  slipped 
lown  a  rope  into  the  sea  and  was  picked  up  by  one  of  the  life^ 

)ats.  Some  of  the  boats,  owing  to  the  position  of  the  vessel,  got 
jwamped,  and  I  saw  one  turn  over  no  less  than  three  times,  but 
eventually  it  was  righted." 

Not  all  of  the  women  and  children  got  off  the  liner  into  the 

lall  boats.    "Women  and  children,  under  the  protection  of  men, 

id  clustered  in  lines  on  the  port  side  of  the  ship,"  reported  an- 
other survivor.  "As  the  ship  made  her  plunge  down  by  the  head, 
she  finally  took  an  angle  of  ninety  degrees,  and  I  saw  this  little 
army  slide  down  toward  the  starboard  side,  dashing  themselves 
against  each  other  as  they  went,  until  they  were  engulfed." 

16— War  St.  3 

224  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT  WAR 

Even  under  the  stress  of  avoiding  death  the  sight  of  the  sink- 
ing hull  was  one  that  held  the  attention  of  those  in  the  water. 
One  of  the  sailors  said  afterward :  "Her  great  hull  rose  into  the 
air  and  neared  the  perpendicular.  As  the  form  of  the  vessel  rose 
she  seemed  to  shorten,  and  just  as  a  duck  dives  so  she  disap- 
peared. She  went  almost  noiselessly.  Fortunately  her  propellers 
had  stopped,  for  had  these  been  going,  the  vortex  of  her  four 
screws  would  have  dragged  down  many  of  those  whose  lives  were 
saved.  She  seemed  to  divide  the  water  as  smoothly  as  a  knife 
would  do  it." 

Twenty  minutes  after  the  torpedo  had  struck  the  ship  she  had 
disappeared  beneath  the  surface  of  the  sea.  "Above  the  spot 
where  she  had  gone  down,"  said  one  of  the  men  who  escaped 
death,  "there  was  nothing  but  a  nondescript  mass  of  float- 
ing wreckage.  Everywhere  one  looked  there  was  a  sea  of 
waving  hands  and  arms,  belonging  to  the  struggling  men 
and  frantic  women  and  children  in  agonizing  efforts  to 
keep  afloat.  That  was  the  most  horrible  memory  and  sight 
of  all." 

Fishing  boats  and  coasting  steamers  picked  up  many  of  the 
survivors  some  hours  after  the  disaster.  The  frightened  people 
in  the  small  boaTs  pulled  for  the  shore  after  picking  up  as  many 
persons  as  they  dared  without  swamping  their  boats.  Some 
floated  about  in  the  waters  for  three  and  four  hours,  kept  up  by 
their  lifebelts.  Some,  who  were  good  swimmers,  managed  to 
keep  above  water  till  help  came;  others  became  exhausted  and 

Probably  the  best  story,  covering  the  entire  period  from  the 
time  the  ship  was  hit  till  the  survivors  were  landed  at  Queena- 
town,  was  told  by  Dr.  Daniel  V.  Moore,  an  American  physician : 
"After  the  explosion,"  said  Dr.  Moore,  "quiet  and  order  were  soon 
accomplished  by  assurances  from  the  stewards.  I  proceeded  to 
the  deck  promenade  for  observation,  and  saw  only  that  the  ship 
was  fast  leaning  to  the  starboard.  I  hurried  toward  my  cabin 
below  for  a  lifebelt,  and  turned  back  because  of  the  difficulty  in 
keeping  upright.  I  struggled  to  D  deck  and  forward  to  the  first- 
class  cabin,  where  I  saw  a  Catholic  priest. 


•*I  could  find  no  belts,  and  returned  again  toward  E  deck  and 
aaw  a  stewardess  struggling  to  dislodge  a  belt.  I  helped  her  with 
hers  and  secured  one  for  myself.  I  then  rushed  to  D  deck  and 
noticed  one  woman  perched  on  the  gunwale,  watching  a  lowering 
lifeboat  ten  feet  away.  I  pushed  her  down  and  into  the  boat,  then 
I  jumped  in.  The  stem  of  the  lifeboat  continued  to  lower,  but  the 
bow  stuck  fast.  A  stoker  cut  the  bow  ropes  with  a  hatchet,  and 
we  dropped  in  a  vertical  position. 

"A  girl  whom  we  had  heard  sing  at  a  concert  was  struggling, 
and  I  caught  her  by  the  ankle  and  pulled  her  in.  A  man  I 
grasped  by  the  shoulders  and  I  landed  him  safe.  He  was  the 
barber  of  the  first-class  cabin,  and  a  more  manly  man  I  never  met. 

"We  pushed  away  hard  to  avoid  the  suck,  but  our  boat  was  fast 
filling,  and  we  bailed  fast  with  one  bucket  and  the  women's  hats. 
The  man  with  the  bucket  became  exhausted,  and  I  relieved  him. 
In  a  few  minutes  she  was  filled  level  full.  Then  a  keg  floated  up, 
and  I  pitched  it  about  ten  feet  away  and  followed  it.  After 
reaching  the  keg  I  turned  to  see  what  had  been  the  fate  of  our 
boat.  She  had  capsized.  Now  a  young  steward.  Freeman,  ap- 
proached me,  clinging  to  a  deck  chair.  I  urged  him  to  grab  the 
other  side  of  the  keg  several  times.  He  grew  faint,  but  harsh 
speaking  roused  him.  Once  he  said :  'I  am  going  to  go.'  But  I 
ridiculed  this,  and  it  gave  him  strength. 

"The  good  boat  Brock  and  her  splendid  officers  and  men  took 
us  aboard. 

"At  the  scene  of  the  catastrophe  the  surface  of  the  water 

I  seemed  dotted  with  bodies.  Only  a  few  of  the  lifeboats  seemed 
to  be  doing  any  good.  The  cries  of  *My  God!'  'Save  us!'  and 
'Help!'  gradually  grew  weaker  from  all  sides,  and  finally  a  low 
weeping,  wailing,  inarticulate  sound,  mingled  with  coughing 
and  gargling,  made  me  heartsick.  I  saw  many  men  die.  Some 
appeared  to  be  sleepy  and  worn  out  just  before  they  went 
[  Officials  of  the  Cunard  Line  claimed  afterward  that  three  sub- 
marines had  been  engaged  in  the  attack  on  the  liner,  but,  after 
all  evidence  had  been  sifted,  the  claim  made  by  the  Germans  that 
only  one  had  been  present   was  found  to  be  true.     The  com- 

226  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

mander  of  the  submarine  had  evidently  been  well  informed  as  to 
just  what  route  the  liner  would  take.  Trouble  with  her  engines, 
which  developed  after  she  had  left  New  York,  had  brought  her 
speed  down  to  18  knots,  a  circumstance  which  was  in  favor  of 
the  attacking  vessel,  for  it  could  not  have  done  much  damage 
with  a  torpedo  had  she  been  going  at  her  highest  speed ;  it  would 
have  given  her  a  chance  to  cross  the  path  of  the  torpedo  as  it  ap- 
proached. No  sign  of  the  submarine  was  noticed  by  the  lookout 
or  by  any  of  the  passengers  on  the  Lusitania  until  it  was  too  late 
to  maneuver  her  to  a  position  of  safety.  A  few  moments  before 
the  white  wake  of  the  approaching  torpedo  was  espied,  the  peri- 
scope had  been  seen  as  it  came  to  the  surface  of  the  water.  From 
that  moment  onward  the  Hner  was  doomed. 

The  German  admiralty  report  of  the  actual  sinking  of  the  ship, 
which  was  issued  on  the  14th  of  May,  1915,  was  brief.  It  read : 
"A  submarine  sighted  the  steamship  Licsitania,  which  showed  no 
flag,  May  7,  2.20  Central  European  time,  afternoon,  on  the  south- 
east coast  of  Ireland,  in  fine,  clear  weather. 

"At  3.10  o'clock  one  torpedo  was  fired  at  the  Liisitania,  which 
hit  her  starboard  side  below  the  captain's  bridge.  The  detonation 
of  the  torpedo  was  followed  immediately  by  a  further  explosion 
of  extremely  strong  effect.  The  ship  quickly  listed  to  starboard 
and  began  to  sink. 

"The  second  explosion  must  be  traced  back  to  the  ignition  of 
quantities  of  ammunition  inside  the  ship." 

One  of  the  effects  of  the  sinking  of  the  Lttsitania  was  to  cut 
down  the  number  of  passengers  sailing  to  and  from  America  to 
Europe  on  ships  flying  flags  of  belligerent  nations.  Attacks  by 
submarines  on  neutral  ships  did  not  abate,  however,  for  on  the 
15th  of  May,  1915,  the  Danish  steamer  Martha  was  torpedoed  in 
broad  daylight  and  in  view  of  crowds  ashore  off  the  coast  of 
Aberdeen  Bay. 

The  sinking  of  ships  in  the  "war  zone"  continued  in  spite  of 
rumors  that  the  German  admiralty  was  expected  to  discontinue 
operations  of  the  submarines  against  merchantmen  on  account  of 
the  unfriendly  feeling  aroused  in  neutral  nations,  particularly  the 
United  States.    On  the  19th  of  May,  1915,  came  the  news  that 


the  British  steamship  Dumcree  had  been  torpedoed  off  a  point  in 
the  English  Channel.  A  torpedo  fired  into  her  hull  failed  to  sink 
her  immediately,  and  a  Norwegian  ship  came  to  her  aid,  passing 
her  a  cable  and  attempting  to  tow  her  to  port.  But  the  sub- 
marine returned,  ahd  fearing  attack,  the  Norwegian  ship  made 
off.  A  second  torpedo  fired  at  the  Dumcree  had  better  effect  than 
the  first  one,  and  she  began  to  settle.  When  the  submarine  left 
the  scene  the  Norwegian  steamship  again  returned  to  the  JDwm- 
cree  and  managed  to  take  off  all  of  her  crew  and  passengers. 
Three  trawlers,  one  of  them  French,  were  sunk  in  the  same  neigh- 
borhood during  the  next  forty-eight  hours. 

As  soon  as  Italy  entered  the  war  an  attempt  was  made  by  the 
Teutonic  Powers  to  establish  the  same  sort  of  submarine  blockade 
in  the  Adriatic  which  obtained  in  the  waters  around  Great 
Britain.  This  was  evinced  when  the  captain  of  the  Italian  steam- 
ship Marsala  reported  on  May  21,  1915,  that  his  ship  had  been 
stopped  by  an  Austrian  submarine,  but  the  latter  not  wishing  to 
disclose  its  location  to  the  Italian  navy,  allowed  his  ship  to  pro- 
ceed unharmed. 

The  suspicion  that  the  German  admiralty  maintained  bases  for 
their  submarines  right  on  the  coasts  of  Great  Britain  where  the 
submersible  craft  could  obtain  oil  for  driving  their  engines,  as 
well  as  supplies  of  compressed  air  and  of  food  for  the  crew,  was 
confirmed  on  the  14th  of  May,  1915,  when  it  was  reported  that 
agents  of  the  British  admiralty  had  discovered  caches  of  the  kind 
at  various  points  in  the  Orkney  Islands,  in  the  Bay  of  Biscay, 
and  on  the  north  and  west  coasts  of  Ireland. 

In  order  to  damage  shipping  in  the  "war  zone"  by  having  ships 

go  wrong  through  having  no  guiding  lights  an  attack  was  made 

by  a  German  submarine  on  the  lighthouse  at  Fastnet,  on  the 

southern  coast  of  Ireland,  on  the  night  of  May  25, 1915.    Shortly 

^_  after  nine  in  the  evening  the  submarine  was  sighted  in  the  waters 

^Knear  the  lighthouse  by  persons  on  shore.    She  was  about  ten  miles 

^Wrom  Fastnet,  near  Barley  Cove.    When  she  came  near  enough  to 

^Hthe  lighthouse  to  use  her  deck  guns,  men  on  shore  opened  fire  on 

^Rher  with  rifles,  and  she  submerged,  not  to  reappear  in  that  neigh- 

rborhood  again. 

228  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

But  this  same  submarine  managed  to  do  other  damage.  The 
American  steamship  Nebraskan  was  in  the  neighborhood  on  its 
way  to  New  York.  The  sea  was  calm  and  the  ship  was  traveling 
at  12  knots,  when  some  time  near  nine  o'clock  in  the  evening  a 
shock  was  felt  aboard.  A  second  later  there  came  a  terrific  ex- 
plosion, and  a  subsequent  investigation  showed  that  a  large  hole, 
20  feet  square,  had  been  torn  in  her  starboard  bow,  not  far  from 
the  water  line.  When  she  began  to  settle  the  captain  ordered 
all  hands  into  the  small  boats.  They  stayed  near  the  dam- 
aged ship  for  an  hour  and  saw  that  she  was  not  going  to  sink. 
When  they  got  aboard  again  they  found  that  a  bulkhead  was 
keeping  out  the  water  sufficiently  to  allow  her  to  proceed  under 
her  own  steam.  In  crippled  condition  she  made  for  port,  being 
convoyed  later  by  two  British  warships  which  answered  her  calls 
for  help. 

In  spite  of  the  sharp  diplomatic  representations  which  were 
at  the  time  passing  back  and  forth  between  Germany  and  the 
United  States  over  the  matter  of  the  German  submarine  warfare, 
the  craft  kept  up  as  active  a  campaign  against  merchant  ships 
as  they  did  before  the  issues  became  pointed.  On  May  28,  1916, 
there  came  the  news  that  three  more  ships  had  been  sent  to  the 
bottom.  The  Spennymoor,  a  new  ship,  was  chased  and  torpedoed 
off  Start  Point,  near  the  Orkney  Islands.  Some  of  her  crew  were 
drowned  when  the  lifeboat  in  which  they  were  getting  away 
capsized,  carrying  them  down.  On  the  same  day  the  large  liner 
Argyllshire  was  chased  and  fired  upon  by  the  deck  guns  of  a 
hostile  submarine,  but  she  managed  to  get  away.  Not  so  fortu- 
nate, however,  was  the  steamship  Cadesby,  While  off  the  Scilly 
Islands  on  the  afternoon  of  May  28,  1915,  a  German  submarine 
hailed  her,  firing  a  shot  from  a  deck  gun  across  her  bows  as  a 
signal  to  halt.  Time  was  given  for  the  crew  and  passengers  to 
get  into  small  boats,  and  when  these  were  at  a  distance  from 
the  ship  the  deck  guns  of  the  submarine  were  again  brought 
into  action,  and  after  firing  thirty  shots  into  her  hull  they 
«ank  her.  The  third  victim  was  the  Swedish  ship  RoosvalL 
She  was  stopped  and  boarded  off  Malmoe  by  the  crew  of  a 
German  submarine.     After  examining  her  papers  they  per- 


mitted  her  to  proceed,  but  later  sent  a  torpedo  Into  her,  sink- 
ing her. 

A  new  raider,  the  U'S4,  made  its  appearance  in  the  English 
Channel  during  the  last  week  in  May,  1915.  On  the  twenty- 
eighth  of  the  month  this  submarine  sank  the  liner  Ethiope.  The 
captain  of  the  steamship  attempted  some  clever  maneuvering, 
which  did  not  accomplish  its  object.  He  paid  no  attention  to  a 
shot  from  the  deck  guns  of  the  submarine  which  passed  across 
his  bow.  The  hostile  craft  then  began  to  circle  around  the 
liner,  while  the  rudder  of  the  latter  was  put  at  a  wide  angle  in 
an  effort  to  keep  either  stem  or  bow  of  tlie  ship  toward  the  sub- 
marine, thus  making  a  poor  target  for  a  torpedo.  But  the  com- 
mander of  the  submarine  saw  through  the  movement  and  ordered 
fire  with  his  deck  guns.  After  shells  had  taken  away  the  ship's 
bridge  and  had  punctured  her  hull  near  the  stem  the  crew  and 
passengers  were  ordered  into  the  small  boats.  They  had  hardly 
gotten  twenty  feet  from  their  ship  when  she  was  rent  by  a  violent 
explosion  and  went  down. 

The  transatlantic  liner  Megantic  had  better  luck,  for  she  man- 
aged to  escape  a  pursuing  submarine  on  May  29, 1915,  as  she  was 
nearing  Queenstown,  Ireland,  homeward  bound.  A  notable 
change  in  the  methods  adopted  by  the  commanders  of  submarines 
as  a  result  of  orders  issued  by  the  German  admiralty  in  answer 
to  the  protests  throughout  the  press  of  the  neutral  nations  after 
the  sinking  of  the  Licsitania  was  the  giving  of  warning  to  in- 
tended victims.  By  the  end  of  May,  1915,  in  almost  every  in- 
I stance  where  a  German  submarine  stopped  and  sank  a  merchant- 
man the  crew  was  given  time  to  get  off  their  ship  and  the  sub- 
marine did  not  hesitate  to  show  itself.  In  fact,  warning  to  stop 
"was  generally  given  when  the  submarine's  deck  was  above  water 
and  the  gun  mounted  there  had  the  victim  "covered."  This  was 
done  in  the  case  of  the  British  steamship  Tullochmoor,  which 
was  torpedoed  off  Ushant  near  the  most  westerly  islands  of  Brit- 
tany, France. 
On  the  1st  of  June,  1915,  there  came  the  news  of  the  sinking 
of  the  British  ship  Dixiana,  near  Ushant,  by  a  German  submarine 
which  approached  by  aid  of  a  clever  disguise.  The  crew  managed 

230  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

to  get  off  the  ship  in  time ;  when  they  landed  on  shore  they  re- 
ported that  the  submarine  had  been  seen  and  on  account  of  sails 
which  she  carried  was  thought  to  be  an  innocent  fishing  boat.  The 
disguise  was  penetrated  too  late  for  the  Dixiana  to  make  its 

The  clear  and  calm  weather  which  came  with  June,  1915,  made 
greater  activity  on  the  part  of  German  submarines  possible.  On 
the  4th  of  June,  1915,  it  was  reported  by  the  British  admiralty 
that  six  more  ships  had  been  made  victims,  three  of  them  being 
those  of  neutral  countries.  In  the  next  twenty-four  hours  the 
number  was  increased  by  eleven,  and  eight  more  were  added  by 
the  9th  of  June,  1915. 

On  that  date  Mr.  Balfour,  Secretary  of  the  British  admiralty, 
announced  that  a  German  submarine  had  been  sunk,  though  he 
did  not  state  what  had  been  the  scene  of  the  action.  At  the  sam^ 
time  he  announced  that  Great  Britain  would  henceforth  treat  the 
captured  crew  of  submarines  in  the  same  manner  as  were  treated 
other  war  prisoners,  and  that  the  policy  of  separating  these  men 
from  the  others  and  of  giving  them  harsher  treatment  would 
be  abandoned. 

On  the  20th  of  June,  1915,  the  day's  reports  of  losses  due  to 
the  operations  of  German  submarines,  issued  by  the  British  Gov- 
ernment, contained  the  news  of  the  sinking  of  the  two  British 
torpedo  boats,  the  No.  10  and  the  No,  20,  No  details  were  made 
public  concerning  just  how  they  went  down. 

On  the  same  day  the  Italian  admiralty  announced  that  a  cache 
maintained  to  supply  submarines  belonging  to  the  Teutonic 
Powers  and  operating  in  the  Mediterranean,  had  been  discovered 
on  a  lonely  part  of  the  coast  near  Kalimno,  an  island  off  the 
southwest  coast  of  Asia  Minor.  Ninety-six  barrels  of  benzine 
and  fifteen  hundred  barrels  of  other  fuel  were  found  and  de- 
stroyed. It  was  believed  that  this  supply  had  been  shipped  as 
kerosene  from  Saloniki  to  Piraeus.  How  submarines  belonging 
to  Germany  had  reached  the  southern  theatre  of  naval  warfare 
had  been  a  matter  of  speculation  for  the  outside  world.  But  on 
the  6th  of  June,  1915,  Captain  Otto  Hersing  made  public  the 
manner  in  which  he  took  the  17-51  on  a  3,000  mile  trip  from  Wil- 


helmshaven  on  the  North  Sea  to  Constantinople.  He  was  the 
commander  who  managed  to  torpedo  the  British  battleships 
Triumph  and  Majestic. 

He  received  his  orders  to  sail  on  the  25th  of  April,  1915,  and 
immediately  began  to  stock  his  ship  with  extra  amounts  of  fuel 
and  provisions,  allowing  only  his  first  officer  and  chief  engineer 
to  know  the  destination  of  their  craft.  He  traveled  on  the  sur- 
face of  the  water  as  soon  as  he  had  passed  the  guard  of  British 
warships  near  the  German  coast ;  traveling  "light"  allowed  him  to 
make  six  or  seven  knots  more  in  speed.  As  he  passed  through 
the  "war  zone"  he  kept  watch  for  merchantmen  which  might  be 
made  victims  of  his  torpedo  tubes.  His  craft  was  sighted  by  a 
British  destroyer,  however,  off  the  English  coast  and  he  had  to 
submerge  to  escape  the  fire  of  the  destroyer's  guns.  He  then  pro- 
ceeded cautiously  down  the  coast  of  France,  encountering  no 
hostile  ships.  When  within  one  hundred  miles  of  Gibraltar  he  was 
again  discovered  by  British  destroyers,  but  again  managed  to 
escape  by  submerging  his  craft. 

Passage  through  the  Strait  of  Gibraltar  was  made  in  the  early 
morning  hours,  while  a  mist  hung  near  the  surface  of  the  water 
and  permitted  no  one  at  the  fort  to  see  the  wake  of  the  U-51*8 
periscope.  Once  inside  the  Mediterranean  he  headed  for  the 
south  of  Greece,  escaping  attack  from  a  French  destroyer  and 
proceeding  through  the  -^gean  Sea  to  the  Dardanelles.  The 
journey  ended  on  the  25th  of  May,  just  one  month  after  leaving 

The  British  ships  Triumph  and  Majestic  were  sighted  early 
in  the  morning,  but  attack  upon  them  was  difficult  on  account  of 
the  destroyers  which  circled  about  them ;  one  of  the  destroyers 
passed  right  over  the  U-51  while  she  was  submerged.  Captaia 
Hersing  brought  her  to  the  surface  soon  afterward  and  let  go  the 
torpedo  which  sank  the  Triumph,  For  the  next  two  days  thr 
submarine  lay  submerged,  but  came  up  on  the  following  day  and 
found  itself  right  in  the  midst  of  the  allied  fleet.  This  time  the 
Majestic  was  taken  as  the  target  for  a  torpedo  and  she  went 
[down.  Again  submerging  his  vessel  Captain  Hersing  kept  it  down 
for  another  day,  and  when  he  again  came  to  the  surface  he  saw 

232  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

that  the  fleets  had  moved  away.  He  then  returned  to  Constanti- 

On  the  23d  of  June,  1915,  the  British  cruiser  Roxborough,  an 
older  ship,  was  hit  by  a  torpedo  fired  by  a  German  submarine  in 
the  North  Sea,  but  the  damage  inflicted  was  not  enough  to  pre- 
vent her  from  making  port  under  her  own  steam. 

The  deaths  of  a  number  of  Americans  occurred  on  the  28th  of 
June,  1916,  when  the  Leyland  liner  Armenian,  carrying  horses 
for  the  allied  armies,  was  torpedoed  by  the  U-38,  twenty  miles 
west  by  north  of  Trevose  Head  in  Cornwall.  According  to  the 
story  of  the  captain  of  the  vessel,  the  submarine  fired  two  shots 
to  signal  him  to  stop.  When  he  put  on  all  speed  in  an  attempt  to 
get  away  from  the  raider  her  guns  opened  on  his  ship  with 
ahrapnel,  badly  riddling  it.  She  had  caught  fire  and  was  burning 
in  three  places  before  he  signaled  that  he  would  surrender. 
Thirteen  men  had  meanwhile  been  killed  by  the  shrapnel.  Some 
of  the  lifeboats  had  also  been  riddled  by  the  firing  from  the  sub- 
marine's deck  guns,  making  it  more  difficult  for  the  crew  to  leave 
the  ship.  The  German  commander  gave  him  ample  time  to  get 
his  boats  off. 

To  offset  the  advantage  which  the  Germans  had  with  their 
submarines  the  British  admiralty  commissioned  ten  such  craft 
during  the  week  of  June  28,  1915.  These  vessels  were  of  Ameri- 
can build  and  design  and  were  assembled  in  Canada.  During  the 
week  mentioned  they  were  manned  by  men  sent  for  the  purpose 
from  England.  Each  was  manned  by  four  officers  and  eighteen 
men,  to  take  them  across  the  Atlantic.  Never  before  in  history 
had  so  many  submarines  undertaken  a  voyage  as  great.  They  got 
under  way  from  Quebec  on  July  2, 1915,  and  proceeded  in  column 
two  abreast,  a  big  auxiliary  cruiser,  which  acted  as  their  escort 
steaming  in  the  center. 

The  next  large  liner  which  had  an  encounter  with  the  German 
submarine  US9  was  the  Anglo-Calif  ornian.  She  came  into  Queenak 
town  on  the  morning  of  July  5, 1915,  with  nine  dead  sailors  lying 
on  the  deck,  nine  wounded  men  in  their  bunks,  and  holes  in  her 
Bides  made  by  shot  and  shell.  She  had  withstood  attack  from  a 
German  submarine  for  four  hours.  Her  escape  from  destruction 



was  accomplished  through  only  the  spirit  of  the  captain  and  his 
crew,  combined  with  the  fact  that  patrol  vessels  came  to  her  aid 
forcing  the  submarine  to  submerge. 

A  variety  in  the  methods  used  by  the  commanders  of  German 
submarines  was  revealed  in  the  stopping  of  the  Norwegian  ship 
Vega  which  was  stopped  on  the  15th  of  July,  while  voyaging 
from  Bergen  to  Newcastle.  The  submarine  came  alongside  the 
steamship  at  night  and  the  commander  of  the  submarine  super- 
vised the  jettisoning  of  her  cargo  of  200  tons  of  salmon,  800  cases 
of  butter,  and  4,000  cases  of  sardines,  which  was  done  at  his 
command  under  threat  of  sinking  his  victim. 

The  week  of  July  15,  1915,  was  unique  in  that  not  one  British 
vessel  was  made  the  victim  of  a  German  submarine  during  that 
period,  though  two  Russian  vessels  had  been  sunk.  Figures  com- 
piled by  the  British  admiralty  and  issued  on  the  22d  of  July, 
1915,  gave  out  the  following  information  concerning  the  attacks 
on  merchantmen  by  German  submarines  since  the  German  ad- 
miralty's proclamation  of  a  "war  zone"  around  Great  Britain 
went  into  effect  on  the  18th  of  February,  1915. 

The  official  figures  were  as  follows : 

Week  ending                               Vessels  lost  Lives  lost 

Feb.     25,  1915 11  9 

March   4,  "  1  None 

March  11,  "  7       •  38 

March  18,  "  6  13 

March  25,  "  7  2 

April      1,  "  13  165 

April      8,  **  8  13 

April    15,  "  4  None 

April    22,  "  3  10 

April   29,  " 3  None 

May       6,  "  24  5 

May     13,  "  2  1,260 

May     20,  "  7  13 

May     27,  "  7  7 

June      3,  " 36  21 



Week  ending 

June  10,  1915 

June  17, 

June  24, 
July  1, 
July       8, 

July  15, 

July  22, 


Vessels  lost 

Lives  lost 





















The  first  year  of  the  Great  War  came  to  an  end  with  the  Ger- 
man submarines  as  active  in  the  "war  zone"  as  they  had  been 
during  any  part  of  it.  On  the  28th  of  July,  1915,  the  anniversary 
of  the  commencement  of  the  war,  there  was  reported  the  sink- 
ing of  nine  vessels.  These  were  the  Swedish  steamer  Emma,  the 
three  Danish  schooners  Maria,  NeptunU,  and  Lena,  the  British 
steamer  Mangara,  the  trawlers  lemii  and  Salaoia,  the  Westward 
Ho,  and  the  Swedish  bark  Sagnadalen.  No  lives  were  lost  with 
any  of  these  vessels. 

The  first  year  of  the  war  closed  with  a  cloud  gathered  over 
the  heads  of  the  members  of  the  German  admiralty  raised  by  the 
irritation  the  submarine  attacks  in  the  "war  zone"  had  caused. 
Germany's  enemies  protested  against  the  illegality  of  these  at- 
tacks; neutral  nations  protested  because  they  held  that  their 
rights  had  been  overridden.  But  the  German  press  showed  the 
feeling  of  the  German  public  on  the  matter — at  the  end  of  July, 
1915,  it  was  as  anxious  as  ever  to  have  the  attacks  continued. 
Conflicting  claims  were  issued  in  Germany  and  England.  In  thi 
former  country  it  was  claimed  that  the  attacks  had  seriously 
damaged  commerce ;  in  the  latter  it  was  claimed  that  the  damaj 
was  of  little  account. 




TN  the  beginning  of  1915  comparative  calm  reigned  over  the 
•*•  Austro-Russian  theatre  of  war,  so  far  as  actual  hostilities  were 
concerned.  But  it  was  not  altogether  the  variable  climatic  con- 
ditions of  alternate  frost  and  thaw — ^the  latter  converting  road 
and  valley  into  impassable  quagmires — ^that  caused  the  lull.  It 
was  a  short  winter  pause  during  which  the  opposing  forces — on 
one  side  at  least — ^were  preparing  and  gathering  the  requisite 
momentum  for  the  coming  storm. 

During  January,  1915,  the  Russian  armies  were  in  a  decidedly 
favorable  position.  In  their  own  invaded  territory  of  Poland,  as 
we  have  seen,  they  held  an  advanced  position  in  front  of  the 
Vistula,  which  circumstance  enabled  them  to  utilize  that  river 
as  a  line  of  communication,  while  barring  the  way  to  Warsaw 
against  Von  Hindenburg.  Lemberg,  the  capital  of  Galicia, 
which  they  had  captured  in  September,  1914,  was  still  in  their 
hands.  Sixty  miles  away  to  the  west  there  lay  the  great  fortress 
of  Przemysl,  invested  by  the  Russians  under  General  Selivanoff, 
and  completely  cut  off  from  the  outer  world  since  November  12, 
1914.  At  least  150,000  troops  and  enormous  quantities  of  stores 
and  munitions  were  locked  up  in  the  town  and  outlying  forts, 
together  with  a  population  of  50,000  inhabitants,  mostly  Polish. 
In  addition  to  these  material  advantages,  the  Russians  held  all  the 
Carpathian  passes  leading  from  GaHcia  into  the  vast  plains  of 


236  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Hungary,  and  a  strong  advanced  position  on  the  Dunajec  in  the 
west,  which,  besides  threatening  Cracow,  the  capital  of  Austrian 
Poland,  served  also  as  a  screen  to  the  mountain  operations. 
Finally,  to  the  far  east  of  the  range,  they  had  occupied  nearly  the 
whole  of  the  Bukowina  right  up  to  the  Rumanian  frontier. 

Such,  briefly,  was  the  situation  on  the  Austro-Russian  front 
when  the  second  winter  campaign  opened.  For  Austria  the 
situation  was  extremely  critical.  Her  armies,  broken  and  scat- 
tered after  a  series  of  disastrous  reverses,  could  scarcely  hop©  by 
their  own  efforts  to  stem  the  threatened  invasion  of  Hungary. 
General  Brussilov,  however,  made  no  serious  attempt  to  pour 
his  troops  through  the  passes  into  the  plain  below ;  although  what 
was  probably  a  reconnaissance  emerged  from  the  Uzsok  Pass 
and  penetrated  as  far  as  Munkacs,  some  thirty  miles  south,  while 
on  several  occasions  small  bands  of  Cossacks  descended  from  the 
Dukla  and  Delatjoi  (Jablonitza)  passes  to  raid  Hungarian  vil- 
lages. General  Brussilov  evidently  regarded  it  inadvisable  to 
risk  an  invasion  of  the  plain,  especially  as  he  did  not  hold  con- 
trol of  the  southern  exits  from  the  passes,  beyond  which  he  would 
be  exposed  to  attack  from  all  sides  and  liable  to  encounter 
superior  forces.  The  main  Austrian  anxiety  for  the  moment  was 
the  precarious  position  of  Przemysl,  to  relieve  which  it  was  first 
essential  to  dislodge  Brussilov  or  to  pierce  his  line.  Again,  in 
the  hour  of  her  extremity,  Austria's  powerful  ally  came  to  the 

Under  the  command  of  the  Archduke  Eugene  the  Austrian 
troops  —  all  that  were  available  —  were  formed  into  three 
separate  armies.  For  convenience  sake  we  will  designate  them 
A,  B,  and  C.  Army  A,  under  General  Boehm-Ermolli,  was 
ordered  to  the  section  from  the  Dukla  Pass  to  the  Uzsog.  It  was 
charged  with  the  task  of  cutting  a  way  through  to  relieve 
Przemysl.  Army  B,  under  the  German  General  von  Linsingen, 
who  also  had  some  German  troops  with  him,  was  to  assail  the 
next  section  eastward,  from  the  Uzsog  to  the  Wyszkow  Pass ;  and 
Army  C,  under  the  Austrian  General  von  Pflanzer-Baltin,  like- 
wise suppHed  with  a  good  "stiffening"  of  German  soldiers,  was 
accredited  to  the  far-eastern  section — ^the  Pruth  Valley  and  th« 



238  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Bukowina.  These  three  armies  represented  the  fighting  ma- 
chine with  which  Austria  hoped  to  retrieve  the  misfortunes  of 
war  and  recover  at  the  same  time  her  military  prestige  and  her 
invaded  territories.  We  have  no  reliable  information  to  enable 
us  to  estimate  the  exact  strength  of  these  armies,  but  there  is 
every  reason  to  believe  that  it  was  considerable,  having  regard 
to  the  urgency  of  the  situation  and  the  bitter  experience  of  the 
recent  past.  Hence  the  figure  of  400,000  men  is  probably  approxi- 
mately correct.  Somewhere  about  January  23,  1914,  after  a 
period  of  thaw  and  mud  the  weather  settled  down  to  snow  and 
hard  frost.  Then  the  machine  began  to  move.  A  snow-clad 
mountain  rampart  lay  spread  before;  over  200  miles  of  its 
length  embraced  the  area  of  the  projected  operations.  Here  we 
may  leave  this  army  for  a  while  in  order  to  review  some  of  the 
political  and  strategic  considerations  underlying  the  campaign, 
which  is  the  scope  of  this  chapter. 

The  Russian  occupation  of  the  Bukowina,  which  was  under- 
taken and  accomplished  by  a  force  far  too  small  to  oppose  any 
serious  resistance,  appears  to  have  been  carried  out  with  the 
definite  political  object  of  favorably  impressing  Rumania,  and 
to  guide  her  into  the  arms  of  the  Allies.  From  her  geographical 
position  Rumania  commands  nearly  the  whole  western  frontier 
of  the  Dual  Monarchy.  Her  fertile  soil  supplied  the  Central 
Powers  with  grain,  dairy  produce,  and  oil.  Furthermore,  Ru- 
mania's foreign  policy  leaned  to  the  side  of  Italy,  and  the  general 
European  impression  was,  after  the  death  of  King  Carol,  October 
10,  1914,  that  if  one  of  the  two  countries  entered  the  war,  the 
other  would  follow  suit.  As  subsequent  events  have  shown, 
however,  that  expectation  was  not  realized.  Rumania,  too,  had 
aspirations  in  the  direction  of  recovering  lost  territories,  but  her 
grievance  in  this  respect  was  equally  divided  between  Russia  and 
Austria,  for,  while  the  one  had  despoiled  her  of  Bessarabia,  the 
other  had  annexed  Transylvania  (Siebenburgen).  Hence  the 
Russian  tentative  conquest  and  occupation  of  the  Bukowina 
paved  the  way  for  Rumania,  should  she  decide  on  intervention. 
The  road  was  clear  for  her  to  step  in  and  occupy  the  Bukowina 
(which   Russia  was  prepared  to   hand   over),   and   probably 



Transylvania  as  well,  which  latter  the  proximity  of  a  Russian 
force  might — at  the  time — ^have  enabled  her  to  do.  But  the  bait 
failed,  no  doubt  for  weighty  reasons.  Even  if  Rumania  had 
favored  the  Triple  Entente,  which  there  is  strong  ground  to 
presume  she  would,  by  entering  the  war,  haye  found  herself  in 
as  perilous  a  position  as  Serbia,  with  her  Black  Sea  littoral  ex- 
posed to  hostile  Turkey  and  her  whole  southern  boundary 
flanked  by  a  neighbor — Bulgaria — whose  intentions  were  as  yet 
unknown.  However,  on  January  27,  1915,  the  Bank  of  England 
arranged  a  $25,000,000  loan  to  Rumania — an  event  which  further 
heightened  the  probability  of  her  entry  into  the  arena. 

We  may  safely  take  it  for  granted  that  these  considerations 
were  not  overlooked  by  the  German  staff,  in  addition  to  the 
patent  fact  that  the  Russians  were  persistently  gaining  ground 
against  the  Austrians.  German  officers  and  men  were  therefore 
rushed  from  the  eastern  and  western  fronts  to  the  south  of  the 
Carpathians  to  form  the  three  armies  we  have  labeled  A,  B,and  C. 
The  points  of  attack  for  which  they  were  intended  have  already 
been  stated ;  but  the  roundabout  manner  in  which  they  traveled 
to  their  respective  sections  is  both  interesting  and  worthy  of 
notice.  At  this  stage  a  new  spirit  seemed  to  dominate  Austro- 
Hungarian  military  affairs ;  we  suddenly  encounter  greater  pre- 
cision, sounder  strategy,  and  deeper  plans:  a  master  mind  ap- 
pears to  have  taken  matters  in  hand.  It  is  the  cool,  calculating, 
mathematical  composite  brain  of  the  German  General  Staff.  As 
the  formation  and  dispatching  of  three  great  armies  can  hardly 
be  kept  a  secret,  especially  where  hawk-eyed  spies  abound,  a 
really  astute  piece  of  stage  management  was  resorted  to.  Wild 
rumors  were  set  afloat  to  the  effect  that  the  Austrian  Government 
had  decided  to  undertake  a  great  offensive — for  the  third  time — 
against  Serbia,  and  erase  her  from  the  map,  with  the  assist- 
ance of  four  German  army  corps.  The  concentration  one  for 
operations  against  either  Serbia  or  the  Russian  front  in  the 
arpathians  was  naturally  in  the  central  plains  of  Hungary, 
ut  to  cover  the  real  object  of  Austro-German  concentration 
ctive  demonstrations  were  made  on  the  Serb  border  in  the  form 
of  bombardments  of  Belgrade,  and  occupation  of  Danube  islands. 

16— War  St.  3 

240  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

These  demonstrations  made  plausible  the  Teutonic  assertion  that 
the  concentration  of  troops  was  being  carried  out  with  a 
view  to  an  invasion  of  Serbia.  So  successful  was  the  ruse,  and 
so  well  had  the  secret  been  kept  that  on  February  1,  1914,  a 
Petrograd  "official"  gravely  announced  to  an  eagerly  listening 
world:  "The  statement  is  confirmed  that  the  new  Austro-Ger- 
man  southern  army,  intended  for  the  third  invasion  of  Serbia^ 
consists  of  six  Austrian  and  two  German  corps  or  400,000  men, 
under  the  command  of  the  Archduke  Eugene (!)*'  At  the  very 
time  this  appeared  the  new  Austro-German  "southern*'  army  had 
been  already,  for  quite  a  week,  making  its  presence  severely 
felt  in  the  eastern  and  central  sections  of  the  Carpathians,  and 
still  the  Russian  authorities  had  not  recognized  the  identity  of 
the  forces  operating  there. 

A  brief  description  of  the  battle  ground  will  enable  the  reader 
to  follow  more  easily  the  course  of  the  struggle.  Imagine  that 
length  of  the  Carpathian  chain  which  forms  the  boundary  be- 
tween Galicia  and  Hungary  as  a  huge,  elongated  arch  of, 
roughly,  300  miles.  (The  whole  of  the  range  stretches  as  a  con- 
tinuous rampart  for  a  distance  of  900  miles,  completely  shutting 
in  Hungary  from  the  northwest  to  the  east  and  south,  separating 
it  from  Moravia  [Mahren],  Galicia,  the  Bukowina,  and  Ru- 
mania.) Through  the  curve  of  this  arch  run  a  number  of  passes. 
Beginning  as  far  west  as  is  here  necessary,  the  names  of  the 
chief  passes  eastward  leading  from  Hungary  are :  into  Galicia — 
Beskid,  Tarnow,  Tilicz,  Dukla,  Lupkow,  Rostoki,  Uzsok,  Vereczke 
(or  Tucholka),  Beskid*  (or  Volocz),  Wyszkow,  Jablonitza  (or 
Delatyn) ;  into  the  Bukowina — Strol,  Kirlibaba,  Rodna ;  into 
Rumania — Borgo.  In  parts  the  range  is  100  miles  in  width,  and 
from  under  2,000  to  8,000  feet  high.  The  western  and  central 
Carpathians  are  much  more  accessible  than  the  eastern,  and 
therefore  comprise  the  main  and  easiest  routes  across.  The 
Hun  and  Tartar  invasions  flooded  Europe  centuries  ago  by  this 
way,  and  the  Delatyn  is  still  called  the  "Magyar  route."  The 
passes  vary  in  height  from  under  a  thousand  to  over  four  thou- 
sand feet.    The  Dukla  and  Uzsok  passes  were  to  be  the  main  ob- 

*  There  are  two  passes  named  Beskid. 

BATTLE  OF  THE  PASSES         241 

jective,  as  through  them  lay  the  straightest  roads  to  Lemberg 
and  Przemysl.  The  former  is  crossed  by  railway  from  Tokay 
to  Przemysl,  and  the  latter  by  rail  and  road  from  Ungvar  to 
Sambor.  A  railroad  also  runs  through  the  Vereczke  from 
Munkacs  to  Lemberg,  and  another  through  Delatjoi  from  De- 
breczen  to  Kolomea.  So  far  as  concerned  means  of  communica- 
tion, matters  were  nearly  equal,  but  geographical  advantage  lay 
with  the  Russians,  as  the  way  from  Galicia  to  Hungary  is  by  far 
an  easier  one  than  vice  versa. 



BEFORE  proceeding  with  the  opening  of  the  second  winter 
campaign  in  the  Carpathians,  the  reader  should  remember 
that,  as  stated  in  the  beginning  of  this  narrative,  a  Russian  army 
under  General  Radko  Dmitrieff  (a  Bulgarian),  held  an  advanced 
position  on  the  Dunajec-Biala  line,  extending  from  the  Vistula  to 
Zmigrod,  northwest  of  Dukla.    This  force  was  consequently  be- 
yond the  zone  of  the  Austro-German  offensive,  but,  as  events 
proved,  it  had  not  been  overlooked,  for  it  was  here  that  the 
heaviest  blow  was  finally  to  fall.    It  is  also  important  to  bear  in 
j^^nind  that  the  Russian  armies  occupying  Galicia  and  the  northern 
^^Hlopes  of  the  Carpathians  were  not  conducting  an  isolated  cam- 
^^Kaign  on  their  own  account ;  they  formed  an  integral  part  of  the 
^^■ar-fiung  battle  line  that  reached  from  the  shores  of  the  Baltic 
I^Baown  to  the  Rumanian  frontier,  a  distance  of  nearly  800  miles. 
Dmitrieff 's  force  represented  a  medial  link  of  the  chain — and  the 

Over  the  slushy  roads  of  the  valleys  and  into  the  snow-laden 
passes  the  Germanic  armies  advanced,  each  of  the  widely  de- 
ployed columns  with  a  definite  objective:  From  Dukla,  Lupkow, 
and  Rostoki  to  relieve  Przefnysl ;  from  Uzsok  through  the  valley 
of  the  Upper  San  to  Sambor;  through  Beskid  and  Vereczke 

242  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

northward  to  Stryj,  thence  westward  also  to  Sambor;  over 
Wyszkow  to  Dolina;  via  Jablonitza  to  Delatyn;  and  across 
Kirlibaba  and  Doma  Vatra  into  the  Bukowina.  Opposed  to  them 
were  the  Russian  Generals  Brussilov,  Ivanoff,  and  Alexieff, 

Correspondents  with  the  Teutonic  troops  in  these  weeks  wrote 
in  wonderment  of  the  scenes  of  the  slowly  forward  toiling 
advance  into  the  mountains  which  they  had  seen.  On  every 
road  leading  into  Galicia  there  was  the  same  picture  of  a  flood 
rolling  steadily  on.  Everywhere  could  be  seen  the  German  and 
Austro-Hungarian  troops  on  the  move,  men  going  into  the 
firing  line  to  fight  for  days,  day  after  day,  with  the  shed- 
ding of  much  blood,  among  the  peaks  and  valleys,  under  chang- 
ing skies. 

Here  is  a  word  picture  of  the  supply  columns  winding  upward 
into  the  Carpathians  to  the  support  of  the  Teutonic  troops 
furnished  by  a  German  correspondent : 

"Truly  fantastic  is  the  appearance  of  one  of  these  modern 
supply  caravans,  stretching  in  zigzag,  with  numerous  sharp 
corners  and  turns,  upward  to  the  heights  of  the  passes  and  down 
on  the  opposite  side.  Here  we  see  in  stages,  one  above  the  other 
and  moving  in  opposite  directions,  the  queerest  mixture  of  men, 
vehicles,  machines  and  animals,  all  subordinated  to  a  common 
military  purpose  and  organization  by  military  leadership,  mov- 
ing continually  and  regularly  along.  The  drivers  have  been 
drummed  up  from  all  parts  of  the  monarchy,  Serbs,  Ruthenians, 
Poles,  Croats,  Rumanians,  Hungarians,  Slovaks,  Austrians, 
and  turbaned  Mohammedans  from  Bosnia.  Everyone  is  shouting 
to  his  animals  and  cursing  in  his  own  language.  The  whole 
mix-up  is  a  traveling  exhibition  of  most  variegated  characteris- 
tic costumes,  for  the  most  part,  of  course,  extremely  the  worse 
for  wear.  Common  to  all  these  are  the  little  wagons  adapted  to 
mountain  travel,  elastic  and  tough,  which  carry  only  half  loads 
and  are  drawn  by  little  ponylike,  ambitious  horses.  In  between 
are  great  German  draft  horses,  stamping  along  with  their 
broad  high-wheeled  baggage  and  ammunition  wagons,  as 
though  they  belonged  to  a  nation  of  giants. 

BATTLE    OF   THE    PASSES  243 

**Gravely,  with  a  kind  of  sullen  dignity,  slow-stepping  steers 
drag  at  their  yokes  heavily  laden  sledges.  They  are  a  powerful 
white  breed,  with  broad-spreading  horns  a  yard  long.  These 
are  followed  in  endless  rows  by  carefully  stepping  pack  animals, 
small  and  large  horses,  mules  and  donkeys.  On  the  wooden  pack- 
saddles  on  their  backs  are  the  carefully  weighed  bales  of  hay  or 
ammunition  boxes  or  other  war  materials.  Walking  gingerly 
by  the  edges  of  the  mountain  ridges  they  avoid  pitfalls  and 
rocks  and  walk  round  the  stiff,  distended  bodies  of  their  com- 
rades that  have  broken  down  on  the  way.  At  times  there  ambles 
along  a  long  row  of  working  animals  a  colt,  curious  and  rest- 
lessly sniffing.  In  the  midst  of  this  movement  of  the  legs  of 
animals,  of  waving  arms,  of  creaking  and  swaying  loaded 
vehicles  of  manifold  origin,  there  climbs  upward  the  weighty 
iron  of  an  Austrian  motor  battery,  with  an  almost  incomprehen- 
sible inevitableness,  flattening  out  the  broken  roads  like  a  steam 

"From  the  first  pass  the  baggage  train  sinks  down  into  the 
depths,  again  to  climb  upward  on  the  next  ridge,  to  continue 
striving  upward  ever  toward  higher  passages,  slowly  pushing 
forward  toward  its  objective  against  the  resistance  of  number- 
less obstacles. 

"The  road  to  the  battle  field  of  to-day  crosses  the  battle  field  of 
recent  weeks  and  months.  Here  there  once  stood  a  village,  but 
only  the  stone  foundations  of  the  hearths  are  left  as  traces  of 
the  houses  that  have  been  burned  down.  Sometimes  falling 
shots  or  the  terrors  of  a  brief  battle  in  the  streets  have  reduced 
to  ruins  only  a  part  of  a  village.  The  roofs  of  houses  have  been 
patched  with  canvas  and  boards  to  some  extent,  and  now  serve 
as  quarters  for  troops  or  as  stables.  In  the  narrow  valleys  the 
level  places  by  the  sides  of  streams  have  been  utilized  for  en- 
campments. Here  stand  in  order  wagons  of  a  resting  column 
and  the  goulash  cannons  shedding  their  fragrance  far  and  wide, 
or  the  tireless  ovens  of  a  field  bakery.  Frequently  barracks, 
hospital  buildings,  and  shelters  for  men  and  animals  have  been 
built  into  the  mountain  sides.  Here  and  there  simple  huts  have 
been  erected,  made  of  a  few  poles  and  fir  twigs.    Often  they 

244  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

are  placed  in  long  rows,  which,  when  their  inmates  are  warming 
themselves  by  the  fire  at  night  turn  the  dark  mountain  road 
into  a  romantic  night  encampment,  and  everywhere  fresh  crosses, 
ornamented  at  times  in  a  manner  suggestive  of  the  work  of 
children,  remind  us  of  our  brothers  now  forever  silenced,  who, 
but  a  short  time  before  went  the  same  road,  withstood  just  such 
weather  and  such  hardships,  talked  perhaps  in  these  same  huts 
of  the  war,  and  dreamt  of  peace. 

"The  saddest  spectacle,  however,  were  the  lightly  wounded, 
poor  fellows,  who  might  under  ordinary  conditions  have  readily 
walked  the  distance  from  the  first  aid  station  to  the  central 
gathering  point,  but  who  here  on  account  of  the  ice  or  muddy 
roads  require  double  and  three  times  the  usual  time." 



OWING  to  the  topographical  conditions  under  which  fighting 
must  be  carried  on  in  the  central  Carpathians,  some  weeks 
might  be  expected  to  elapse  before  a  general  engagement  devel- 
oped along  the  entire  front.  Lateral  communication  or  coopera- 
tion between  the  advancing  columns  was  out  of  the  question ;  the 
passes  were  like  so  many  parallel  tunnels,  each  of  which  must 
first  be  negotiated  before  a  reunion  can  take  place  at  the  northern 

We  will  follow  the  achievements  of  the  three  groups  in  separate 
order.  Army  A,  under  Boehm-Ermolli,  crossed  Uzsok  and 
Rostoki,  and  forced  part  of  the  Russian  line  back  upon  Baligrod, 
but  Brussilov  held  it  fast  on  Dukla  and  Lupkow,  strongly  sup- 
ported by  Dmitrieff  on  his  right.  Here  the  attack  failed  with 
severe  losses;  the  Germanic  forces  were  thrown  back  into  Hun- 
gary, and  the  Russians  commanded  the  southern  ends  of  the 
passes  around  Dukla.    The  Uzsok  Pass  was  of  small  strategical 


value  to  the  Austrians  now  that  they  had  it.  It  is  extremely 
vulnerable  at  every  point;  steep,  narrow,  and  winding  roads 
traverse  its  course  nearly  3,000  feet  high,  with  thickly  wooded 
mountains  up  to  4,500  feet  overlooking  the  scene  from  a  close 
circle.  Regarded  merely  as  a  short  cut  to  Przemysl  and  Lem- 
berg,  the  Uzsok  was  a  useful  possession  provided  always  that 
the  northern  debouchment  could  be  cleared  and  an  exit  forced. 
But  the  Russians  held  these  debouchments  with  a  firm  grip,  and 
the  pass  was  consequently  of  no  use  to  the  Austrians.  About 
February  7,  1915,  the  Russians  attempted  to  outflank  the  Aus- 
trian position  in  the  Lupkow  Pass  from  the  eastern  branch  of 
the  Dukla  by  pushing  forward  in  the  direction  of  Mezo-Laborc 
on  the  Hungarian  side.  The  movement  partially  succeeded ;  they 
took  over  10,000  prisoners,  but  failed  to  dislodge  the  Austrians 
from  the  heights  east  of  the  pass.  Severe  fighting  raged  round 
this  district  for  over  a  month,  the  Russians  finally  capturing 
Lupkow,  as  well  as  Smolnik  at  the  southern  exit  of  Rostoki.  Had 
the  Russians  succeeded  in  getting  between  Uzsok  and  the  Aus- 
trian line  of  communication,  as  was  undoubtedly  their  aim,  the 
Austrians  would  have  been  compelled  to  relinquish  the  pass  with- 
out even  a  fight.  However,  General  Boehm-Ermolli's  mission 
proved  a  failure. 

Army  B,  under  Von  Linsingen,  succeeded  in  traversing  all  the 
passes  in  its  appointed  section.  Crossing  by  the  railway  pass 
of  Beskid  and  the  two  roads  leading  through  Vereczke  and 
Wyszkow,  they  pushed  forward  in  the  direction  of  Stryj  and 
Lemberg,  but  never  reached  their  destination.  Barely  through 
the  passes,  the  Germans  struck  upon  Lysa  Gora,  over  3,300  feet 
high.  This  mountain  range  is  barren  of  all  vegetation —  no  shel- 
tering trees  or  shrubs  adorn  its  slopes.  The  route  of  the  Germans 
crossed  Lysa  Gora  south  and  in  front  of  the  ridge  of  Koziowa, 
where  the  Russian  lines,  under  General  Ivanoff,  lay  in  waiting. 
Passing  down  the  bald  slopes  of  Lysa  Gora  toward  the  valley  of 
the  Orava  River,  the  advancing  German  columns  presented  a 
conspicuous  target  for  the  Russians  on  the  opposite  slopes  of 
Koziowa,  screened  by  thick  forests.  Here  one  of  the  most  des- 
perate battles  of  the  campaign  ensued  on  February  6,  1915,  be- 

246  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

tween  Von  Linsingen's  Austro-German  army  and  Brussilov's 
center.  ^ 

In  close  formation  an^  with  well-drilled  precision  the  Germans 
attempted  to  storm  the  position  at  the  point  of  the  bayonet. 
Again  and  again  they  returned  to  the  charge,  only  to  be  repulsed 
with  severe  losses.  As  many  as  twenty-two  furious  bayonet 
charges  were  made  in  one  day,  February  7.  Wherever  a  footing 
was  gained  in  the  Russian  lines,  there  a  few  minutes  ferocious 
hand-to-hand  melee  developed — Saxon  and  Slav  at  death  grips — 
the  intruders  were  expelled  or  hacked  down.  Great  masses  of 
Austro-German  dead  and  wounded  were  strewn  over  the  lower 
slopes  of  Koziowa.  For  five  weeks  Von  Linsingen  hammered  at 
the  Russian  front  without  being  able  to  break  through.  So  long 
as  the  Russians  held  the  heights  it  was  impossible  for  their  enemy 
to  emerge  from  the  passes.  These  two,  Vereczke  and  Beskid,  so 
close  together,  may  literally  be  described  as  twin  tunnels.  Owing 
to  the  highland  between  them,  the  two  columns  moving  through 
could  not  cooperate ;  if  one  side  needed  reenf orcements  from  the 
other,  they  had  to  be  taken  back  over  the  range  into  Hungary  to 
the  junction  where  the  roads  diverged.  It  was  sound  strategy 
on  the  Russian  side  to  select  Koziowa  as  the  point  from  which  to 
check  the  Germanic  advance.  For  the  time  being,  with  Dukla 
and  Lupkow  in  their  hands  and  the  exits  of  Uzsok  and  Rostoki 
strongly  guarded,  the  defense  of  Koziowa  held  Galicia  safe  from 
reconquest.  The  attacks  against  Koziowa  continued  beyond  the 
middle  of  March,  1915.  On  the  16th  of  that  month  the  Russians 
captured  a  place  called  Oravcyk,  about  four  miles  westward, 
from  where  they  could  threaten  the  German  left,  which  had  the 
effect  of  keeping  Von  Linsingen  still  closer  to  his  mountain  pas- 
sages. The  fighting  in  this  region  represents  one  of  the  impor- 
tant phases  of  the  war,  for  it  prevented  the  relief  of  Przemysl; 
temporarily  saved  Stryj  and  Lemberg  for  the  Russians;  en- 
abled them  to  send  reenforcements  into  the  Bukowina,  and, 
finally,  inspired  the  German  General  Staff  to  plan  the  great 
and  decisive  Galician  campaign,  which  was  to  achieve  the 
task  wherein  Boehm-Ermolli  and  Von  Linsingen  had  both 


Meanwhile,  what  had  Von  Pflanzer-Baltin  accomplished 
with  Army  C  —  the  third  column?  His  path  lay  through 
Jablonitza,  Kirlibaba,  and  Dorna  Vatra ;  his  task  was  to  clear  the 
Russians  out  of  the  Bukowina,  and  either  to  force  them  back 
across  their  own  frontiers,  or  to  turn  the  extreme  end  of  their 
left  flank.  We  have  seen  that  the  Russian  occupation  of  the 
Bukowina  was  more  in  the  nature  of  a  political  experiment  than 
a  serious  military  undertaking,  and  that  their  forces  in  the 
province  were  not  strong  enough  to  indulge  in  great  strategical 
operations.  Hence  we  may  expect  the  Austrian  generaFs  prog- 
ress to  be  less  difficult  than  that  of  his  colleagues  in  the  western 
and  central  Carpathians.  To  some  extent  this  presumption  is 
correct,  for  on  February  18,  1915,  after  launching  out  from  the 
southern  corner  of  the  Bukowina  at  Kimpolung  and  via  the  Ja- 
blonitza Pass  down  the  Pruth  Valley,  they  captured  Czernowitz, 
and  after  that  Kolomea,  whence  the  railway  runs  to  Lemberg. 
Within  three  days  they  reached  Stanislawow,  another  important 
railway  center,  defended  by  a  small  Russian  force,  and  a  big 
battle  ensued.  Altogether,  the  Germanic  troops  in  the  Bukowina 
were  reported  at  50,000  in  number,  though  these  were  split  up 
into  two  columns,  one  of  which  was  making  but  slow  progress 
farther  east. 

Russian  reenforcements  were  thrown  into  the  town,  and  the 
struggle  for  the  railway,  which  lasted  a  week,  appears  to  have 
been  of  a  seesaw  nature,  for  no  official  reports  of  the  fighting 
were  issued  by  either  side.  Still  the  Austrians  pushed  westward 
in  the  hope  of  reaching  the  railways  which  supplied  those  Rus- 
sian armies  which  were  barring  the  advance  through  the  central 
passes.  The  Russians  were  forced  to  withdraw  from  Stanis- 
lawow, and  their  opponents  now  held  possession  of  the  line  run- 
ning to  Stryj  and  Przemysl — a  serious  menace  to  the  Russian 
main  communications.  This  meant  that  Von  Pflanzer-Baltin  had 
succeeded  in  getting  to  the  rear  of  the  Russians.  But  assistance 
came  unexpectedly  from  the  center,  whence  Ivanoff  was  able  to 
send  reenforcements  to  his  colleague.  General  Alexeieff,  who  was 
continually  falling  back  before  the  Austrians.  Furious  counter- 
attacks were  delivered  by  the  Russians  at  Halicz  and  Jezupol,  the 




FALL    OF    PRZEMYSL  -  249 

bridgeheads  of  the  southern  bank  of  the  Dniester.  If  the  Aus- 
trians  could  not  force  a  victory  at  these  points,  their  position  in 
Stanislawow  would  be  untenable,  since  the  Russians  still  had  a 
clear  road  to  pour  reenforcements  into  the  fighting  area  between 
the  Dniester  and  the  Carpathians.  On  March  1,  1915,  the  Aus- 
trians  were  defeated  at  Halicz  in  a  pitched  battle,  and  on  the 
4th  the  Russians  reentered  Stanislawow.  According  to  their 
official  communique  the  Russians  captured  nearly  19,000  pris- 
oners, 5  guns,  62  machine  guns,  and  a  quantity  of  stores  and 
munitions.  About  March  16  the  opposing  forces  came  again  into 
touch  southeast  of  Stanislawow  on  the  road  to  Ottynia,  but  noth- 
ing of  importance  appears  to  have  happened.  To  sum  up  the 
results  of  the  Germanic  offensive,  we  must  remember  what  the 
objectives  were.  Of  the  latter,  none  was  attained.  The  Russians 
had  not  been  expelled  from  Galicia ;  Przemysl  was  no  nearer  to 
relief  than  before,  and  Lemberg  had  not  been  retaken.  With  the 
exception  of  Dukla  and  Lupkow,  all  the  passes  were  in  Austrian 
hands ;  but  the  Russians  dominated  the  northern  debouchments  of 
all  of  them  excepting  Jablonitza. 



THE  town  and  fortress  of  Przemysl  formally  surrendered  to 
the  Russian  General  Selivanoff  on  Monday,  March  22,  1915. 
The  first  investment  began  at  the  early  stages  of  the  war  in 
September,  1914.  On  the  27th  of  that  month  the  Russian  gen- 
eralissimo announced  that  all  communications  had  been  cut  off. 
By  October  15,  1914,  the  Russian  investment  had  been  broken 
again,  and  for  a  matter  of  three  weeks,  while  the  road  was  open, 
more  troops,  provisions,  arms,  and  munitions  were  rushed  to  the 
spot.  As  we  have  seen,  however,  the  Russians  recovered  their 
lost  advantage,  for,  after  the  fall  of  Jaroslav,  the  fortress  to  the 
north  of  Przemysl,  their  troops  were  hurried  up  from  east,  north| 

250  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

and  west,  and  within  a  few  days  the  Austrians  were  sent  back 
along  the  whole  front.  From  the  region  of  Przemysl  three  rail- 
roads cross  the  Carpathians  to  Budapest,  along  all  of  which  the 
Russians  had  pushed  vigorously,  besides  advancing  on  the  west. 
As  regarded  railroad  communications,  the  fate  of  Przemysl  was 
sealed  by  the  capture  of  Chyrow,  an  important  junction  about 
twenty  miles  south  of  the  fortress.  Przemysl  itself  was  impor- 
tant as  a  road  junction  and  as  a  connecting  link  with  the  Uzsok 
and  Lupkow  passes.  The  garrison  prepared  to  make  a  stubborn 
resistance  with  the  object  of  checking  the  Russian  pursuit.  A 
week  later  the  Russians  had  broken  up  their  heavy  artillery  and 
had  begun  a  steady  bombardment.  By  November  12,  1914, 
Przemysl  was  once  more  completely  besieged  by  General  Seli- 
vanoff  with  not  more  than  100,000  troops. 

Przemysl  is  one  of  the  oldest  towns  of  Galicia,  said  to  have  been 
founded  in  the  eighth  century.  It  was  once  the  capital  of  a  large 
independent  principality.  In  the  fourteenth  century  Casimir  the 
Great  and  other  Polish  princes  endowed  it  with  special  civic 
privileges,  and  the  town  attained  a  high  degree  of  commercial 
prosperity.  In  the  seventeenth  century  its  importance  was  de- 
stroyed by  inroads  of  Tatars,  Cossacks,  and  Swedes.  Przemysl 
is  situated  on  the  River  San,  and  was  considered  one  of  the 
strongest  fortresses  of  Europe. 

The  original  strategic  idea  embodied  in  the  purpose  of  the 
fortress  was  purely  defensive;  in  the  event  of  war  with  Russia 
only  the  line  of  the  San  and  Dniester  was  intended  to  be  held 
at  all  costs,  while  the  whole  northeastern  portion  of  Galicia  was 
to  be  abandoned.  With  the  fortress  of  Cracow  guarding  the 
west,  Przemysl  was  meant  to  be  the  first  defense  between  the 
two  rivers  and  to  hold  the  easiest  roads  to  Hungary  through  the 
Dukla,  Lupkow,  and  Uzsok  passes.  Within  the  last  ten  years, 
however,  the  Austrian  War  Staff  altered  its  plans  and  decided 
upon  a  vigorous  offensive  against  Russia  should  occasion  offer, 
and  that  Eastern  Galicia  was  not  to  be  sacrificed.  Hence  a  net- 
work of  strategic  railways  was  constructed  with  a  view  to  at- 
tacking the  prospective  enemy  on  a  wide  front  extending  from 
the  Vistula  near  Cracow  on  the  west  to  the  Bug  on  the  east, 


where  the  latter  flows  into  Austrian  territory  and  cuts  off  a 
comer  of  eastern  Galicia.  The  plan  does  not  appear  to  have 
worked  successfully,  for,  before  the  war  was  many  days  old,  the 
Russians  had  taken  Lemberg,  swept  across  the  Dniester  at  Halicz, 
across  the  San  at  Jaroslav,  just  north  of  Przemysl,  and  had 
already  besieged  the  fortress,  which  at  no  time  imposed  any 
serious  obstacle  in  the  path  of  their  progress.  Perhaps  the  only 
useful  purpose  that  Przemysl  served  was  that  it  restrained  the 
Russians  from  attempting  an  invasion  of  Hungary  on  a  big  scale, 
by  holding  out  for  nearly  seven  months.  Not  having  sufficient 
siege  artillery  at  their  disposal,  the  Russians  made  no  attempt 
to  storm  the  place.  General  Selivanoff  surrounded  the  forts 
with  a  wide  circle  of  counterdefenses,  which  were  so  strongly 
fortified  that  the  garrison  would  have  found  it  an  almost  hope- 
less task  to  attempt  a  rush  through  the  enemy's  lines.  The 
Austrian  artillery  was  naturally  well  acquainted  with  the  range 
of  every  point  and  position  that  lay  within  reach  of  their  guns ; 
and  Selivanoff  wisely  offered  them  little  opportunity  for  effective 
practice.  Considering  it  too  expensive  to  attack  by  the  overland 
route,  he  worked  his  way  gradually  toward  the  forts  by  means 
of  underground  operations.  To  sap  a  position  is  slow  work, 
but  much  more  economical  in  the  expenditure  of  lives  and 
munitions.  The  weakness  of  Przemysl  lay  in  the  fact  that  its 
garrison  was  far  too  large  for  its  needs,  and  that  provisions 
were  running  short.  In  the  early  part  of  the  campaign  the  Ger- 
manic armies  operating  in  the  San  region  had  drawn  freely  on 
Przemysl  for  supplies,  and  before  these  could  be  adequately  re- 
placed the  Russians  had  again  forged  an  iron  ring  around  the 
place.  The  Russian  commander,  moreover,  was  aware  that  a 
coming  scarcity  threatened  the  town,  and  that  he  had  only  to 
bide  his  time  to  starve  it  into  submission.  Whilst  he  was  simply 
waiting  and  ever  strengthening  his  lines,  the  Austrians  found 
it  incumbent  on  them  to  assume  the  offensive.  Several  desperate 
sorties  were  made  by  the  garrison  to  break  through  the  wall, 
only  to  end  in  complete  disaster.  General  Herman  von  Kus- 
manek,  the  commander  in  chief  of  the  fortress,  organized  a 
special  force,  composed  largely  of  Hungarians,  for  "sortie  duty," 

252  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

under  the  command  of  a  Hungarian,  General  von  Tamassy. 
These  sorties  had  been  carried  out  during  November  and  Decem- 
ber, 1914,  especially  during  the  latter  month,  when  the  Austro- 
German  armies  were  pouring  across  the  mountains.  So  critical 
W^as  the  Russian  position  at  the  time  that  the  relief  of  Przemysl 
was  hourly  expected.  According  to  an  officer  of  General  Seliva- 
noff's  staff,  "The  Austrians  in  the  fortress  were  already  con- 
versing with  the  Austrians  on  the  Carpathians  by  means  of  their 
searchlights.  The  guns  of  Przemysl  could  be  heard  by  the 
Austrian  field  artillery.  The  situation  was  serious,  and  General 
Selivanoff  took  prompt  measures.  He  brought  up  fresh  troops 
to  the  point  of  danger  and  drove  the  sortie  detachments  back  to 
the  fortress."  It  is  stated  from  the  Austrian  side  that  one  of 
the  sortie  detachments  had  succeeded  in  breaking  through  the 
Russian  lines  and  marching  to  a  point  fifteen  miles  beyond  the 
outer  lines  of  the  forts.  A  Russian  official  announcement  states 
that  during  two  months  of  the  siege  the  Austrian  captures 
amounted  only  to  4  machine  guns  and  about  60  prisoners,  which 
occurred  in  an  engagement  where  two  Honved  regiments  fell  on 
a  Russian  company  which  had  advanced  too  far  to  be  reenforced 
in  time.  On  their  part  in  repulsing  sorties  by  the  garrison,  fre- 
quently made  by  considerable  forces,  the  Russians  made 
prisoners  27  officers  and  1,906  soldiers,  and  captured  7  ma- 
chine guns,  1,500,000  cartridges,  and  a  large  quantity  of 
arms.  In  two  sorties  the  garrison  in  the  region  of  Bircza 
had  more  than  2,000  killed  and  wounded,  among  them  being 
many  officers.  No  further  sorties  were  undertaken  in  that 
particular  region.  During  January  and  February,  1915,  very 
little  fighting  took  place  around  Przemysl;  sorties  were  useless 
as  there  was  no  Austro-German  force  anywhere  near  the  fortress, 
and  the  Russians  were  tightening  the  pressure  around  it.  The 
only  means  of  communication  with  the  outer  world  was  by  aero- 
plane, so  that,  despite  the  rigid  investment,  the  Austro-German 
war  staff  were  kept  fully  informed  of  the  straits  in  which 
Przemysl  found  itself.  General  Boehm-Ermolli,  with  Army  A, 
was  making  desperate  efforts  to  extricate  himself  from  the 
Russian  grip  round  Uzsok,  Lupkow,  and  Dukla;  he  did  not 


get  beyond  Baligrod,  as  the  crow  flies,  thirty  miles  south  of 

On  March  13, 1915,  the  Russians  stormed  and  captured  the  vil- 
lage of  Malkovise,  on  the  northeast,  breaking  through  the  outer 
line  of  the  defense.  From  this  position  they  began  to  bombard 
parts  of  the  inner  ring.  About  the  beginning  of  the  third  week  in 
March,  1915,  a  new  spirit  of  activity  appeared  to  seize  the 
beleaguered  garrison:  they  commenced  a  terrific  cannonade 
which,  however,  elicited  no  response.  It  was  but  the  energy  of 
despair :  they  were  firing  to  get  rid  of  their  ammunition,  hoping 
at  the  same  time  to  hit  something  or  somebody.  The  end  was 
at  hand. 

On  March  18,  1915,  a  Petrograd  "official"  laconically  reports 
that :  "In  the  Przemysl  sector  the  fortress  guns  continue  to  fire 
more  than  a  thousand  heavy  projectiles  daily,  but  our  troops 
besieging  the  fortress  lose  only  about  ten  men  every  day."  It 
is  also  on  March  18  that  General  von  Kusmanek  issued  the  fol- 
lowing manifesto  to  the  defenders  of  Przemysl: — "Heroes,  I 
announce  to  you  my  last  summons.  The  honor  of  our  country 
and  our  army  demands  it.  I  shall  lead  you  to  pierce  with  your 
points  of  steel  the  iron  circles  of  the  enemy,  and  then  march 
ever  farther  onward,  sparing  no  efforts,  until  we  rejoin  our 
army,  which,  after  heavy  fighting,  is  now  near  us." 

Just  before  the  surrender  two  Austrian  officers  escaped  from 
the  fortress  in  an  aeroplane.  These  reported  concerning  the 
last  days  of  the  siege : 

"On  the  18th  of  March  the  last  provisions  had  been  dealt  out 
and  at  the  same  time  the  last  attempt  at  breaking  through  the 
line  of  the  besiegers  had  been  ordered.  This  was  carried  out 
on  the  night  of  the  19th  of  March.  It  was  shattered,  however, 
against  the  unbreakable  manifold  ring  of  the  Russian  inclosing 
lines  and  against  the  superior  forces  which  were  brought  in 
time  to  the  threatened  points.  Our  men  were  so  weakened  by 
their  long  fasting  that  it  took  them  fully  seven  hours  to  make 
the  march  of  seven  kilometers,  and  even  in  this  short  stretch 
many  of  them  had  to  lie  down  from  exhaustion,  yet  they  fought 
well  and  were  bravely  led  by  their  offi/cers. 

254  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

"In  spite  of  all  this,"  Captain  Lehmann,  one  of  the  escaped 
officers,  reported,  "the  heroic  garrison  fought  on,  after  their  last 
sortie,  for  fully  forty-eight  hours,  against  assaults  of  the  Rus- 
sians which  now  set  in  with  terrific  violence.  The  men  of  the 
fortress  were  fully  informed  of  the  situation  by  an  announce- 
ment of  the  commander.  They  knew  that  the  provisions  were 
at  an  end  and  this  very  knowledge  spurred  them  on  to  make 
their  last  sacrifice.  Practically  all  the  nations  of  the  monarchy 
were  represented  in  the  fortress.  Tyrolese  Landsturm  held  the 
south,  Hungarians  the  west,  Ruthenians  and  Poles  the  north,  and 
lower  Austrians  the  east.  To  this  last  battle  the  troops  marched 
out  singing,  striving  thus  to  master  their  weakness.  On  this, 
occasion  the  above  mentioned  notice  had  fallen  into  the  hands 
of  the  Russians  and  the  prospect  had  thus  been  opened  to  them 
to  seize  the  fortress  with  little  effort.  For  two  days  and  nights 
all  the  works  of  Przemysl  were  taken  under  an  uninterrupted 
terrible  artillery  fire,  including  that  of  modern  howitzers  of  all 
calibers,  up  to  eighteen  centimeters.  Then  followed  an  assault 
at  night  on  the  east  front,  which,  however,  was  again  bloodily 

Starvation  is  conducive  neither  to  good  feeling  nor  heroism, 
especially  when  it  is  superimposed  upon  an  unbroken  series  of 
more  or  less  disastrous  experiences.  Misfortune  and  the  so- 
called  "tradition  of  defeat"  had  dogged  the  steps  of  Austria's 
troops  from  the  beginning  of  the  war;  unlucky  generals — 
Dankl,  Auffenberg,  and  others — ^had  been  relieved  of  their  com- 
mands and  replaced  by  "new  blood" — Boehm-Ermolli,  Boro- 
yevitch  von  Bojna,  and  Von  Pflanzer-Baltin.  Of  these  three, 
two  had  as  yet  failed  in  carrying  to  success  the  German  plans 
which  had  taken  the  place  of  those  of  their  own  strategists. 
Hence  it  is  not  at  all  improbable  that  the  reports  of  dissensions 
among  the  garrison,  which  leaked  out  at  the  time,  were  sub- 
stantially accurate.  That  jealousies  broke  out  among  the  numer- 
ous races  forming  the  Austrian  Army — especially  between  the 
Slavonic  and  Germanic  elements — is  supported  by  strong 
evidence.  The  sentiments  of  the  Slav  subjects  of  Austria  leaned 
more  toward  Russia  than  the  empire  of  which  they  formed 


a  considerable  portion,  while  there  was  never  any  love  lost 
between  them  and  the  Magyars.  However  that  may  be,  the 
Slav  regiments  were  reported  to  have  refused  obedience  to  the 
general's  order  for  the  last  sortie,  which  was  eventually  under- 
taken by  a  force  composed  of  the  Twenty-third  Hungarian  Honved 
Division,  a  regiment  of  Hussars,  and  a  Landwehr  brigade,  alto- 
gether about  30,000  men.  Everything  depended  upon  the 
venture,  for  not  only  were  all  their  food  supplies  used  up,  but 
they  had  already  eaten  most  of  their  horses.  Instead,  therefore, 
of  making  southward  to  where  their  comrades  were  fighting 
hard  to  tear  themselves  away  from  the  Carpathian  passes,  the 
sortie  turned  toward  the  east,  in  the  direction  of  Mosciska, 
twenty  miles  off,  which  was  supposed  to  be  the  Russian  supply 
base.  This  attempted  foraging  expedition — for  it  was  nothing 
else — can  only  be  defended  on  the  broad  general  principle  that 
it  is  better  to  do  something  than  nothing  as  a  last  resort.  Sup- 
plies were  essential  before  any  more  could  be  undertaken  to  cut 
a  passage  through  the  strong  double  set  of  Russian  lines  that 
lay  between  the  Carpathians  and  Przemysl ;  but  that  these  sup- 
plies were  stored  at  Mosciska  was  a  pure  speculation.  Further, 
considering  that  the  whole  country  was  in  their  opponents*  hands, 
a  strength  of  30,000  men  was  insufficient  to  attempt  so  hazard- 
ous an  adventure.  Even  if  they  succeeded  in  breaking  through, 
their  return  to  the  fortress  was  not  assured.  In  that  case,  if 
they  could  not  get  back,  they  would  have  to  go  forward :  east- 
ward lay  Lemberg,  held  by  the  Russians;  northward  was  the 
Russian  frontier,  and  southward  stood  the  Russian  forces  hold- 
ing the  passes.  Thus,  in  any  case,  however  successful  the 
expedition  might  prove,  it  meant  breaking  at  least  twice  through 

les  which  the  enemy  had  spent  months  in  strengthening  or 
fortifying.     Undeterred  by  the  almost  certain  possibility  of 

lilure,  the  expedition  of  the  "forlorn  hope"  set  out  across  the 
>lain  of  the  San — and  speedily  came  to  grief.  They  had  to  pass 
the  strongest  Russian  artillery  position,  which  was  stationed 
the  low  hollow  through  which  the  railway  runs  to  Lemberg. 

[ere  a  terrific  hail  of  shells  burst  over  their  heads ;  rattle  of  ma- 

dne  guns  and  rifle  fire  tore  great  holes  in  their  ranks;  the 

17_War  St.  3 

256  THE   STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

stoutest  courage  and  bravest  hearts  were  unavailing  against 
an  enemy  who  could  not  be  reached  nor  even  seen.  The  number 
of  killed  and  wounded  in  that  fatal  sortie  has  not  been  made 
public ;  that  it  was  an  enormous  figure  is  certain.  The  Russians 
took  4,000  prisoners  of  those  who  survived  the  ordeal,  and  cap- 
tured the  forts  on  the  western  side  directly  after  the  struggling 
remnants  had  regained  their  starting  place.  Generalvon  Kus- 
manek  issued  his  manifesto  in  the  morning,  and  by  the  same 
night  the  sortie  ended  in  disaster.  Like  the  misdirected  charge 
of  the  Light  Brigade  at  Balaclava  in  1854,  it  was  ^'brilliant,  but 
it  wasn't  war." 

One  more  attempt  was  made  on  Saturday,  March  20,  1915, 
toward  Oikovice,  but  it  was  easily  frustrated  by  the  vigilant 
Russians.  On  Sunday  and  Monday,  the  21st  and  22d  of  March, 
a  number  of  explosions  were  heard  in  and  around  Przemysl. 
The  Austrians  were  destroying  ever3rthing  possible  previous  to 
surrendering.  Large  quantities  of  explosives  were  thrown  in 
the  river ;  all  kinds  of  arms  were  destroyed  or  rendered  useless ; 
three  bridges  were  crippled;  the  few  remaining  horses  were 
shot,  and  a  railway  bridge  over  the  Wiar,  which  possessed  no 
strategic  value,  was  also  destroyed.  These  tactics  of  destroying 
approaches  naturally  isolated  the  town  more  than  ever,  and 
made  it  exceedingly  difficult  afterward  to  convey  food  supplies 
to  the  starving  population. 

On  Monday  morning,  March  22,  1915,  the  Austrian  chief  of 
staff  appeared  outside  the  lines  of  Przemysl  under  a  flag  of 
truce.  He  was  blindfolded,  driven  by  automobile  to  Russian 
headquarters,  and  ushered  into  the  presence  of  General  Seliva- 
noff.  When  the  bandage  had  been  removed  from  his  eyes,  the 
Austrian  officer  handed  over  a  letter  of  capitulation  from 
General  von  Kusmanek,  which  ran  as  follows : 

"In  consequence  of  the  exhaustion  of  provisions  and  stores, 
and  in  compliance  with  instructions  received  from  my  supreme 
chief,  I  am  compelled  to  surrender  the  Imperial  and  Royal 
Fortress  of  Przemysl  to  the  Imperial  Russian  Army." 

The  Russians  took  charge  without  any  triumphal  display. 
Some  officers  were  sent  to  receive  the  surrender  and  take  stock 


df  ttie  spoils.  General  von  Kusmanek  himself  supplied  the  in- 
ventory, in  which  were  listed  9  generals,  93  superior  officers, 
2,500  "Offlziere  und  Beamten"  (subalterns  and  officials),  and 
117,000  rank  and  file,  besides  1,000  pieces  of  ordnance,  mostly 
useless,  and  a  large  quantity  of  shells  and  rifle  cartridges. 

Greneral  Artamoff  was  appointed  military  governor  and  to 
superintend  the  process  of  dispatching  the  prisoners  into  Rus- 
sian territory,  which  was  carried  out  at  the  rate  of  10,000  a  day. 
Extensive  arrangements  were  set  on  foot  to  supply  the  inhab- 
itants with  food,  drink,  and  other  necessaries  of  life.  As  the 
RufMsians  had  not  bombarded  the  town,  its  natural  and  artificial 
beauties  had  suffered  no  damage  beyond  that  which  the  Aus- 
trians  had  themselves  inflicted ;  only  the  outskirts  and  the  forti- 
fications had  been  injured  by  fire  and  explosion. 

Thus  fell,  on  March  22,  1915,  Przemysl,  "by  its  own  momen- 
tum like  an  overripe  fruit,"  and  with  a  garrison  twice  as  large 
as  would  have  been  adequate  to  defend  it.  To  Austria  the  blow 
was  a  severe  one,  for  it  cost  her  about  four  army  corps ;  the  im- 
mediate advantage  it  brought  to  the  Russians  was  the  release 
of  Selivanoff's  army  of  100,000  men,  who  were  urgently  re- 
quired elsewhere.  It  was  only  a  week  earlier  that  the  com- 
mander in  chief  of  all  the  Austro-Hungarian  armies,  the 
Archduke  Frederick,  had  granted  an  interview  to  an  American 
journalist  (Dr.  J.  T.  Roche),  in  the  course  of  which  he  stated: 
"We  have  only  recently  reached  the  point  where  we  are  really 
prepared  ,to  carry  on  a  campaign  as  it  should  be  carried  under 
modem  conditions  of  warfare.  Now  that  our  organization  has 
been  completed  and  all  branches  of  the  service  are  working 
harmoniously,  we  entertain  no  doubts  as  to  our  ability  to  hold 
the  enemy  at  all  points  and  to  drive  him  back  from  that  section 
of  Galicia  which  is  still  in  his  possession." 

258  THE    STORY  OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 



THREE  days  before  the  fall  of  Przemysl  the  Russians  aban» 
ddned  the  defensive  and  commenced  a  vigorous  attack  on 
the  Carpathian  front.  Active  preparations  for  the  advance  had 
been  completed  when  the  capitulation  of  the  fortress  was  to  be 
expected  any  hour.  Having  so  far  held  the  Germanic  armies 
in  check,  it  was  necessary  for  the  Russians  to  regain  complete 
control  of  the  Carpathians  and  the  passes  before  the  snow  should 
begin  to  melt,  especially  if  they  decided  on  an  invasion  of 
Hungary.  On  the  other  hand,  before  any  offensive  could  be 
undertaken  against  the  Germans  in  Poland,  or  the  Austrians 
at  Cracow,  it  was  imperative  to  secure  the  southern  flank  in 
Galicia.  They  had  by  this  time  partially  grasped  one  particular 
feature  of  German  strategy,  namely,  to  parry  a  blow  from  one 
direction  by  striking  in  another.  A  further  consideration  may 
have  been  the  absolute  certainty  that  Germany  would  dispatch 
more  reenforcements  to  the  aid  of  her  ally.  Selivanoff 's  siege 
army  was  distributed  between  Dmitrieff,  Brussilov,  and  Ivanoff, 
but  they  could  not  be  employed  to  full  advantage  owing  to  the 
restricted  area  presented  by  the  Germanic  front.  Being  largely 
composed  of  siege  artillery  as  well  as  cavalry,  a  considerable 
portion  of  Selivanoff's  army  was  unsuited  for  mountain  warfare. 
Cavalry  were  converted  into  infantry,  but  could  not  be  supplied 
with  the  necessary  equipment ;  they  had  no  bayonets,  and  most 
of  the  fighting  was  hand-to-hand. 

Great  masses  of  Germanic  reserves  were  concentrating  in 
northern  Hungary,  into  which  the  Russians  had  driven  a  thin 
wedge  south  of  Dukla,  where  they  held  an  isolated  outpost 
near  Bartfeld.  To  leave  this  position  undeveloped  meant  com- 
pulsory withdrawal  or  disaster.  With  the  continual  influx  of 
reenforcements  on  both  sides,  the  struggle  for  the  main  passes 
gradually  develops  into  an  ever-expanding  and  unbroken  battle 


front:  all  the  gaps  are  being  filled  up.  From  Dukla  westward 
to  the  Dunajec-Biala  line  and  the  Carpathian  foothills  a  new 
link  is  formed  by  the  Fourth  Austrian  Army,  commanded  by 
the  Archduke  Joseph  Ferdinand,  with  two  and  a  half  army 
corps  and  one  German  division.  In  the  Central  Carpathians 
a  fifth  army,  under  the  command  of  the  Austrian  General  von 
Bojna,  appears  between  the  forces  of  Boehm-Ermolli  and  those 
of  Von  Linsingen.  Right  away  eastward  the  purely  Aus- 
trian army  of  Von  Pflanzer-Baltin  was  holding  the  Pruth  Val- 
ley. The  Germanic  chain  was  complete,  with  every  link  welded 

When  the  Russian  offensive  opened  on  March  19,  1915,  the 
entire  battle  line  still  rested  on  the  northern  side  of  the  Car- 
pathians, and  here  the  struggle  was  resumed.  The  Russian 
grand  attack  was  directed  between  the  Lupkow  and  Uzsok  passes, 
where  great  forces  of  the  enemy,  concentrated  for  the  purpose  of 
relieving  Przemysl,  were  stationed.  In  the  western  sector,  fac- 
ing Dmitrieff,  the  Archduke  Joseph  Ferdinand  held  the  roads 
leading  from  Novy-Sacz  and  Grybow  to  Tamow,  covering  Cra- 
cow ;  and  from  south  of  the  range  the  two  roads  diverging  from 
Zboro  to  Gorlice  and  Jaslo  were  in  Russian  possession,  though  the 
Austrians  held  their  junction  at  Zboro,  eight  miles  north  of 
Bartfeld.  Of  the  actual  fighting  that  took  place  in  this  region 
very  few  details  were  published  by  the  Russian  official  com- 
munique. One  of  these  documents,  dated  April  18,  1915,  an- 
nounced that  on  March  23,  "our  troops  had  already  begun  their 
principal  attack  in  the  direction  of  Baligrod,  enveloping  the 
enemy  positions  from  the  west  of  the  Lupkow  Pass  and  on  the 
east  near  the  sources  of  the  San.  The  enemy  opposed  the  most 
desperate  resistance  to  the  offensive  of  our  troops.  They  had 
brought  up  every  available  man  on  the  front  from  the  direction 
of  Bartfeld  as  far  as  the  Uzsok  Pass,  including  even  German 
troops  and  numerous  cavalrymen  fighting  on  foot.  The  effectives 
on  this  front  exceeded  300  battaHons.  Moreover,  our  troops  had 
to  overcome  great  natural  difficulties  at  every  step.  In  the  course 
of  the  day,  March  23,  1915,  we  captured  more  than  4,000  pris- 
oners, a  gun,  and  several  dozen  machine  guns." 

260  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

On  March  24, 1915,  the  battle  was  in  full  progress:  "Especially 
severe  is  the  fighting  for  the  crest  of  the  mountain  south  of 
Jasliska  and  to  the  west  of  the  Lupkow  Pass.  The  forests  which 
cover  these  mountains  offer  special  facilities  for  the  construction 
of  strong  fortifications."  March  25 :  "The  woods  in  the  Lupkow 
region  are  a  perfect  entanglement  of  barbed  wire  . .  .  surrounded 
by  several  layers  of  trenches,  strengthened  by  deep  ditches  and 
palisades.  On  this  day  our  troops  carried  by  assault  a  very  im- 
portant Austrian  position  on  the  great  crest  of  the  Beskid 
Mountains."  The  Russian  captures  for  the  day  amounted  to  100 
officers,  5,600  men,  and  a  number  of  machine  guns.  Advancing 
from  Jasliska  the  Russians  seriously  threatened  the  Austro- 
German  position  in  the  Laborcza  Valley,  to  which  strong  reen- 
forcements  were  sent  on  March  25.  With  terrific  violence 
the  battle  raged  till  far  into  the  night  of  the  27th,  the  Russians 
forcing  their  way  to  within  seven  miles  of  the  Hungarian 

In  eight  days  they  had  taken  nearly  10,000  prisoners.  By  the 
night  of  March  28,  1915,  the  entire  line  of  sixty  miles  from 
Dukla  to  Uzsok  was  ablaze — ^the  storm  was  spreading  eastward. 
Like  huge  ant  hills  the  mountains  swarmed  with  gray  and  bluish 
specks — each  a  human  being — some  to  the  waist  in  snow,  stab- 
bing and  hacking  at  each  other  ferociously  with  bayonet,  sword, 
or  lance,  others  pouring  deadly  fire  from  rifle,  revolver,  machine 
gun,  and  heavy  artillery.  Over  rocks  slippery  with  blood,  through 
cruel  barbed-wire  entanglements  and  into  crowded  trenches  the 
human  masses  dash  and  scramble.  Here,  with  heavy  toll,  they 
advanced;  there,  and  with  costlier  sacrifice,  they  were  driven 
back.  Fiery  Magyars,  mechanical  Teutons  and  stohd  muzhiks 
mixed  together  in  an  indescribable  hellbroth  of  combative  fury 
and  destructive  passion.  Screaming  shells  and  spattered  shrap- 
nel rent  the  rocks  and  tore  men  in  pieces  by  the  thousand.  Round 
the  Lupkow  Pass  the  Russians  steadily  carved  their  way  for- 
ward, and  at  the  close  of  the  day,  March  29,  1915,  they  had 
taken  76  officers,  5,384  men,  1  trench  mortar,  and  21  machine 
guns.  Along  the  Baligrod-Cisna  road  the  fighting  proceeded,  up 
to  March  30,  by  day  and  night. 


Gradually  the  Russians  pushed  toward  Dvemik  and  Ustrzyki 
south  of  Lutoviska,  threatening  the  Austrian  position  in  the 
Uzsok  and  lines  of  communications  to  the  south.  German  re- 
serves were  hurried  up  from  the  base  at  Ungvar,  but  could  not 
prevent  the  capture  of  80  Austrian  officers,  over  5,000  men,  14 
machine  guns,  and  4  pieces  of  cannon.  Ivanoff  had  been  careful 
to  hold  his  portion  of  Selivanoff' s  army  in  reserve ;  their  presence 
turned  the  scale. 

On  the  day  and  night  of  March  31,  1915,  the  Russians  stormed 
and  carried  the  Austrian  positions  4,000  feet  high  up  on  the 
Poloniny  range  during  a  heavy  snowstorm.  So  deep  was  the 
snow  in  places  that  movement  was  impossible ;  the  trampling  of 
the  charging  battalions  rushing  down  over  the  slopes  dislodged 
avalanches  of  snow,  overwhelming  both  attackers  and  defenders. 
By  April  1,  1915,  the  Russians  approached  Volosate,  only  twelve 
miles  from  the  rear  of  the  Uzsok  Pass,  from  which  they  were  now 
separated  by  a  low  ridge.  Holding  full  possession  of  the  Poloniny 
range  farther  west,  they  commanded  the  road  from  Dvemik  to 
Vetllna.  From  the  north  other  Russian  columns  captured 
Michova  on  the  Smolnik-Cisna  railroad,  crossed  the  Carpathians, 
and  penetrated  into  the  Virava  Valley.  Occupying  the  entire  loop 
of  the  Sanok-Homona  railway  north  and  south  of  Lupkow,  and 
Mezo-Laborcz  toward  Dukla,  the  Russians  now  threatened  the 
Austrian  mountain  positions  between  Lupkow  and  the  Vetlina- 
Zboj  road  from  the  western  flank  as  well.  Violent  winter  storms 
raged  across  the  Carpathians  on  April  2  and  3,  1915;  nature 
spread  a  great  white  pall  over  the  scenes  of  carnage.  While  the 
elements  were  battling,  the  weary  human  fighting  machine  rested 
and  bound  its  wounds.  But  not  for  long.  Scarcely  had  the  last 
howls  of  the  blizzard  faded  away  when  the  machine  was  again 
set  in  motion. 

South  of  Dukla  and  Lupkow  and  north  of  Uzsok  fighting  was 
resumed  with  intense  vigor.  Painfully  digging  through  the 
snowdrifts  the  Austrians  retired  from  the  Smolnik-Kalnica  line, 
now  no  longer  tenable.  Storm  hampered  the  pursuing  enemy, 
who  captured  the  Cisna  railway  station  on  April  4, 1915,  with  all 
its  rolling  stock  and  large  stores  of  munitions. 

262  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

On  April  6,  1915,  a  Russian  communique  announced  that 
"during  the  period  from  March  20  to  April  3,  1915,  we  took 
prisoners  in  the  Carpathians,  on  the  front  from  Baligrod  to 
Uzsok,  378  officers,  11  doctors,  and  33,155  men.  We  captured 
17  guns  and  101  machine  guns.  Of  these  captives  117  officers, 
16,928  men,  8  guns,  and  59  machine  guns  were  taken  on  a  front 
of  fifteen  versts  (10  miles)." 

The  Russians  again  advanced  along  their  whole  front  on  April 
4,  1915 ;  forcing  their  way  along  the  Rostoki  stream,  they  carried 
the  village  of  Rostoki  Gorne  with  the  bayonet  and  penetrated  the 
snow-bound  Rostoki  Pass.  Their  first  line  arrived  at  a  Hun- 
garian village  called  Orosz-Russka,  five  miles  from  Nagy  Polena, 
at  the  foot  of  the  pass.  The  Austrians  attempted  to  drive  them 
back,  but  they  held  their  ground. 

While  fortune  was  steadily  following  the  efforts  of  the  czar's 
troops  in  the  Lupkow-Uzsok  sector,  the  German  War  Staff  were 
preparing  their  plans  for  the  great  decisive  blow  that  was  soon  to 
be  struck.  South  of  the  Carpathians,  barely  thirty  miles  away, 
formidable  reenforcements  were  collecting;  they  arrived  from 
the  East  Prussian  front,  from  Poland,  and  even  from  the  west, 
where  they  had  faced  the  French  and  British.  There  were  also 
new  formations  fresh  from  Germany.  General  von  der  Marwitz 
arrived  in  the  Laborcza  Valley  with  a  whole  German  army  corps. 
These  gigantic  preparations  were  not  unknown  to  the  Russians ; 
they,  also,  strained  every  nerve  to  throw  all  available  reenforce- 
ments behind  and  into  the  battle  line,  strengthening  every  posi- 
tion except  one.  South  of  the  Lupkow  the  Germanic  forces 
opened  their  counteroffensive  on  April  6,  1915.  Official  reports 
on  the  first  day's  fighting  differ  somewhat.  The  Russians  admit 
a  slight  German  advance,  but  assert  that  they  were  able  to  with- 
stand all  further  attacks.  The  Germans,  on  the  other  hand, 
claim  great  successes  and  the  capture  of  6,000  Russian  prisoners. 

The  Germanic  armies  in  this  case,  however,  certainly  did  ad- 
vance, for  the  Russians  withdrew  from  the  Virava  Valley,  which 
they  had  entered  four  days  earlier.  The  first  object  of  the 
counteroffensive  was  to  save  the  Austrians  who  were  holding  the 
frontier  south  of  Lupkow  from  being  enveloped  and  cut  off.    But 


on  April  9,  1915,  the  Russians  again  moved  forward,  and  recov- 
ered part  of  the  Virava  Valley.  By  this  day  the  whole  mountain 
crest  from  Dukla  to  Uzsok,  a  distance  of  over  seventy  miles,  had 
been  conquered  by  thv;  Russians.  By  the  same  night  they  had  re- 
pulsed a  counterattack  near  the  Rostoki  and  captured  a  battalion 
of  Austrian  infantry.  The  Russian  report  sums  up  thus :  "We 
seized  Height  909  (909  meters=3,030  feet)  with  the  result  that 
the  enemy  was  repulsed  along  the  entire  length  of  the  principal 
chain  of  the  Carpathians  in  the  region  of  our  offensive." 

For  the  next  three  days  Brussilov  attempted  to  work  his  way 
to  the  rear  of  the  Uzsok  position  with  his  right  wing  from  the 
Laborcz  and  Ung  valleys,  while  simultaneously  continuing  his 
frontal  attacks  against  Boehm-Ermolli  and  Von  Bojna.  Cutting 
through  snow  sometimes  more  than  six  feet  deep,  the  Russians 
approached  at  several  points  within  a  distance  of  three  miles 
from  the  Uzsok  Valley.  But  the  Austrians  still  held  the  Opolonek 
mountain  group  in  force.  Severe  fighting  then  developed  north- 
west of  the  Uzsok  on  the  slopes  between  Bukoviec  and  Beniova ; 
the  Russians  captured  the  village  of  Wysocko  Nizne  to  the  north- 
east, which  commands  the  only  roads  connecting  the  Munkacz- 
Stryj  and  the  Uzsok-Turka  lines.  Though  both  sides  claimed  local 
successes,  they  appear  to  have  fought  each  other  to  a  deadlock, 
for  very  little  fighting  occurred  in  this  zone  after  April  14,  1915. 
Henceforth  Brussilov  directed  his  main  efforts  to  the  Virava  and 
Cisna-Rostoki  sector.  From  here  and  Volosate,  where  there  had 
been  continuous  fighting  since  the  early  days  of  April,  the  Rus- 
lians  strove  desperately  for  possession  of  the  Uzsok.  They  were 
low  only  two  or  three  days'  march  from  the  Hungarian  plains. 

Between  April  17  and  20,  1915,  a  vigorous  Austrian  counter- 
attack failed  to  check  the  Russian  advance.  Between  Telepovce 
id  Zuella,  two  villages  south  of  the  Lupkow,  the  Russians  noise- 
jssly  approached  the  Austrian  barbed-wire  entanglements, 
>roke  through,  and  after  a  brief  bayonet  encounter  gained  pos- 
jssion  of  two  heights  and  captured  the  village  of  Nagy  Polena, 
little  farther  to  the  east.  During  the  night  of  April  16-17, 
[915,  the  Russians  took  prisoners  24  officers,  1,116  men,  and  3 
machine  guns. 

264  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

On  April  18,  1915,  the  Austrians  directed  several  fierce  attacks 
against  the  heights  south  of  Telepovce,  but  were  compelled  to 
evacuate  the  approaches  to  their  positions.  Here,  also,  an  Aus- 
trian battalion  was  cut  off  and  forced  to  surrender.  Meanwhile 
the  fighting  was  gradually  decreasing  in  intensity ;  the  great  Car- 
pathian campaign  had  reached  the  end  of  another  chapter.  The 
Austro-German  offensive  had  failed  in  its  purpose.  From 
Uzsok  eastward  there  had  been  but  little  fighting  after  the  Rus- 
sian recapture  of  Stanislawow. 



WHILE  the  struggle  for  the  passes  was  raging  in  the  central 
Carpathians  an  interesting  campaign  was  being  conducted 
in  Eastern  Galicia  and  the  Bukowina  between  Von  Pfianzer- 
Baltin  and  Lechitsky.  There  we  left  the  Russians  in  possession 
of  Stanislawow,  which  they  had  reoccupied  on  March  4,  1915. 
Two  days  before,  an  Austrian  detachment  of  infantry  and  two 
divisions  of  cavalry  attempted  a  raid  into  Russian  territory  near 
the  Bessarabian  frontier.  Within  forty-eight  hours  they  were 
hurled  back.  Beyond  local  skirmishes  and  maneuvering  for 
positions,  nothing  of  importance  happened  from  March  4  till  the 
15th,  when  the  Russians  attacked  the  main  Austrian  forces  south- 
east of  Czernowitz.  Crossing  the  River  Pruth  opposite  Ludi- 
horecza,  which  lies  about  600  feet  high,  and  where  the  Czerno- 
witz waterworks  are  situated,  the  Russians  occupied  the  place 
and  threatened  the  Austrian  position  in  the  town,  around  which 
pressed  laborers  were  digging  trenches  night  and  day  for  the 
defenders.  Along  the  line  between  Sadagora  and  Old  Zuczka  the 
Russians  had  been  settled  for  over  six  months.  The  Austrians 
attacked  this  position  on  March  21,  1915,  with  the  aid  of  reen- 
forcements  and  compelled  the  Russians  to  evacuate  Sadagora. 


While  falling  back  in  the  south  the  Russians  endeavored  to  ad- 
vance in  the  north,  from  the  direction  of  Czemiavka,  and  out- 
flank the  Austrians.  Violent  fighting  raged  for  several  days, 
especially  northeast  from  Czemowitz  to  beyond  Rarancze,  with 
the  result  that  the  Russians  were  compelled  to  withdraw  toward 
Bojan,  near  their  own  frontier,  on  March  27.  Three  days  later 
some  Hungarian  Honved  battalions,  who  had  penetrated  into 
Russian  territory  near  Szylowce,  were  surrounded  by  Cossacks 
and  severely  handled.  Besides  many  killed  and  wounded  the 
Austrians  lost  over  1,000  prisoners,  and  by  April  2,  1915,  the 
Russians  had  thrown  the  remainder  back  across  their  borders. 
On  April  10,  1915,  the  Russians  withdrew  from  Boyan,  but  re- 
turned on  the  14th.  Here,  at  the  close  of  April,  they  concen- 
trated large  reenforcements  and  recovered  most  of  the  ground 
they  had  lost  since  the  middle  of  March. 

Some  twenty  miles  northwest  of  Czernowitz,  sheltered  in  a 
loop  of  the  Dniester,  lies  an  important  fortified  town  called 
Zaleszczyki.  It  had  a  population  of  over  76,000,  and  is  a  station 
on  the  branch  line  connecting  Czortkow  junction  with  the 
Kolomca-Czemowitz  railway.  From  the  dense  forests  east  of  the 
town  an  Austrian  column  commanded  by  Count  von  Bissingen 
had  attempted  during  the  night  of  March  22-23,  1915,  to  turn 
the  adjacent  Russian  positions,  held  by  Cossacks  and  Siberian 
fusiliers.  A  furious  fight  developed,  and  the  Austro-Hungarian 
column,  which  included  some  of  the  finest  troops,  was  repulsed 
with  heavy  loss.  Two  other  attempts  were  made  here,  on  April 
10  and  17,  1915.  On  the  latter  date  a  detachment  of  Tyrolese 
sharpshooters  were  trapped  in  the  wire  entanglements  and 

One  more  battle  on  a  big  scale  remains  to  be  chronicled  from 
the  far  eastern  sector;  it  may  also  serve  to  illustrate  the  wide 
[divergence  that  not  infrequently  exists  between  official  com- 
gnuniques  recording  the  same  event.     Early  in  April,  1915,  a 
Russian  force  threw  a  bridge  across  the  Dniester  near  the  village 
)f  Filipkowu  and  moved  along  the  road  running  from  Uscie 
[Biskupie  via  Okna  and  Kuczurmik  on  to  Czemowitz,  the  inten- 
tion being  to  turn  the  A"ai-Wan  positions  south  of  Zaleszczyki 

266  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

from  the  rear.    We  will  let  the  rival  communiques  relate  what 
happened : 

Austrian  Version  Russian  Version 

Annihilated  two  battalions  Annihilated  two  battalions 

of  Russian  infantry  belonging  of  the  Honveds ;  captured  21 

to  the  Alexander  Regiment;  officers,  over  1,000  rank  and 

took    1,400    prisoners,    and  file,  and  8  machine  guns, 
drove  Russians  back  beyond 
the  Dniester. 

The  curtain  was  about  to  rise  for  the  next  act,  wherein  will  be 
played  one  of  the  most  terrific  reversals  of  fortune  ever  produced 
in  military  history. 

For  quite  a  month  it  had  been  an  open  secret  that  considerable 
masses  of  German  troops  were  being  transported  to  the  Car- 
pathian front.  What  was  not  known,  however,  was  the  mag- 
nitude or  the  plan  of  these  preparations.  Never  was  a  greater 
concentration  of  men  and  machinery  more  silently  and  more 
speedily  accomplished.  All  along  the  south  of  the  range,  on  the 
great  Hungarian  plains,  there  assembled  a  gigantic  host  of 
numerous  nationalities.  But  it  was  away  to  the  west,  in  that 
narrow  bottle  neck  where  the  Dunajec  flows  from  the  Polish 
frontier  down  to  the  Tarnow  Pass,  that  the  mighty  thunderbolt 
had  been  forged.  Thousands  of  heavy  guns  were  here  planted  in 
position,  and  millions  of  shells  conveyed  thither  under  cover  of 
night.  Countless  trains  carried  war  materials,  tents,  pontoons, 
cattle,  provisions,  etc.  Finally  the  troops  arrived — from  the 
different  fronts  where  they  could  be  spared,  and  new  levies  from 
Germany  and  Austria-Hungary.  Smoothly  and  silently  men 
and  machines  dropped  into  their  respective  places:  All  was 
ready;  not  a  detail  had  been  overlooked;  German  organization 
had  done  its  part.  The  commander  was  Von  Mackensen,  nomi- 
nally Commander  of  the  Eleventh  German  Army,  but  in  reality 
supreme  director  of  the  whole  campaign. 

During  April,  1915,  a  number  of  changes  had  taken  place 
among  the  commanding  officers  of  the  Austro-German  armies; 
the  new  dispositions  of  groups  along  the  battle  line  differ  con- 


siderably  from  those  which  obtained  during  the  fighting  for  the 
passes.    The  line  was  now  enormously  strengthened,  and  more 
compact.    This  applies  only  to  the  Germanic  side ;  there  is  little 
change  on  the  Russian.    At  this  stage  the  Russian  front  on  the 
west  of  Galicia  extended  from  Opatovie  on  the  Polish  frontier 
along  the  Dunajec,  Biala,  and  Ropa  Rivers  by  Tamow,  Ciez- 
kovice,  and  Gorlice  down  to  Zboro  in  Hungary ;  from  here  it  runr 
eastward  past  Sztropko,  Krasnilbrod,  Virava,  and  Nagy  Polena 
to  the  Uzsok  Pass,  a  distance  of  about  120  miles.    Ewarts  com- 
manded the  army  on  the  Nida ;  the  Dunajec-Biala  line  was  still  held 
by  Dmitrieff ,  Commander  in  Chief  of  the  Eighth  Russian  Army ; 
Brussilov  still  commanded  the  main  army  of  the  Carpathians, 
and  Lechitsky  in  the  Bukowina  in  the  place  of  Alexeieff,  who 
had  succeeded  General  Russky  in  the  northern  group.    The  whole 
southern  group,  from  the  Nida  to  the  Sereth  inclusive,  was  under 
the  supreme  command  of  General  Ivanoff .    Facing  Dmitrieff  on 
the  Dunajec  front  stood  now  the  Fourth  Austro-Hungarian  Army 
under  the  Archduke  Joseph  Ferdinand,  about  five  army  corps,  in- 
cluding a  German  cavalry  division  under  General  von  Besser; 
then  the  Ninth  and  Fourteenth  Austrian  Army  Corps;  to  their 
right,  several  Tyrolese  regiments;  the  Sixth  Austro-Hungarian 
Army  Corps  of  General  Arz  von  Straussenburg,  with  the  Prussian 
Guards  on  his  left  and  Bavarian  troops  under  Von  Emmich 
on  his  right;  the  Eleventh  German  Army  Corps  under  Von 
Mackensen;  the  Third  Austro-Hungarian  Army  under  General 
Boroyevitch  von  Bojna;  the  Tenth  Army  Corps  under  General 
Martiny.     This   formidable   combination  now   confronted   the 
Dunajec-Biala  positions,  which  Dmitrieff  had  held  without  exer- 
tion for  four  months.    Only  a  mile  or  two  away  he  still  inspected 
his  trenches  and  conducted  his  minor  operations,  totally  uncon- 
scious of  the  brewing  storm  specially  directed  against  him.   The 
Laborza  district  was  held  by  the  Archduke  Joseph  with  the 
Seventh  Army  Corps;  on  his  left  stood  a  German  corps  under 
Von  Marwitz,  and  on  his  right  the  Tenth  Army  Corps,  north  of 
Bartfeld,  with  some  additional  forces  in  between.    Around  the 
Lupkow  and  Uzsok  passes  the  Second  Austro-Hungarian  Army 
under  Boehm-Ermolli  was  stationed  where  it  had  been  since 


February,  1915.  Next,  on  the  right,  the  Austro-Hungarian 
army  corps  under  Von  Goglia ;  in  the  Uzsok  lay  an  army  under 
Von  Szurmay,  nearly  all  Magyars,  of  whom  the  chief  commander 
was  Von  Linsingen.  Farther  eastward  stood  a  Prussian  corps, 
embodying  a  division  of  Prussian  Guards  and  other  regiments 
commanded  by  General  Bothmer,  a  Bavarian,  who  had  been  re- 
enforced  with  a  Hungarian  division  under  Bartheldy;  then  fol- 
lowed the  corps  of  Generals  Hofmann  and  Fleischman,  composed 
of  all  Austrian  nationalities,  intrenched  in  the  mountain  valleys. 
More  German  troops  held  the  next  sector,  and,  finally,  came  Von 
Pflanzer-Baltin's  army  groups  in  the  Bukowina  and  Eastern 
Galicia.  Against  this  huge  iron  ring  of  at  least  twenty-four 
Germanic  corps  (about  2,000,000  men)  and  a  great  store  of  re- 
serves, the  Russians  could  not  muster  more  than  about  fourteen 
of  their  own  corps.  As  has  already  been  pointed  out,  the  great- 
est disparity  of  strength  existed  on  the  Dunajec  line,  where 
Dmitrieff  stood  opposed  to  about  half  of  the  enemy's  entire  force 
with  only  five  corps  of  Russian  troops.  The  Austro-German 
forces,  moreover,  were  infinitely  better  equipped  with  munitions 
and  heavy  artillery.  The  lack  of  big  guns  was  undoubtedly  the 
reason  why  the  Russians  had  not  attempted  an  invasion  of  Hun- 
gary. Hence  they  stuck  to  the  mountain  passes  where  their 
opponents  were  unable  to  carry  their  artillery,  although  they 
were  amply  supplied  with  the  same.  It  is  true  that  the  Russians 
could  have  produced  an  equal — or  even  greater — ^number  of  men, 
but  they  had  not  the  arms  and  accouterments. 

Speaking  from  safe  knowledge  after  the  event,  it  is  possible 
to  indicate  with  moderate  accuracy  at  least  one  of  the  ingenious 
stratagems  adopted  by  the  Germans  to  disguise  their  tremendous 
preparations  against  the  Dunajec  line.  For  months  the  fighting 
in  this  region  had  never  been  severe.  When,  therefore,  local 
attacks  and  counterattacks  on  a  small  scale  started  on  the  Biala, 
as  far  back  as  April  4, 1915,  Dmitrieff  and  his  staff  regarded  this 
activity  on  the  Austrians  part  as  merely  a  continuation  of  the 
sporadic  assaults  they  had  grown  accustomed  to.  Besides  hold- 
ing his  own,  Dmitrieff  had  on  several  occasions  been  able  to 
assist  Brussilov  on  his  left.    Until  the  big  German  drive  com- 


menced  they  had  only  been  opposed  to  three  Austro-German 
army  corps  and  a  Prussian  division ;  now  there  were  twelve  corps 
on  their  front,  supplied  with  enormous  resources  of  artillery, 
shells,  and  cavalry.  Most  serious  of  all,  Dmitrieff  had  neglected 
to  construct  second  and  third  lines  to  which  he  could  retire  in  an 
emergency.  Of  the  rivers  that  lay  behind  him — ^the  Wisloka,  the 
Wistok,  and  the  San — ^the  first  would  be  useful  to  cover  Brus- 
silov's  position  at  the  western  passes,  but  beyond  that  he  could 
not  retreat  without  imperiling  the  whole  Carpathian  right  flank. 
It  was  on  this  very  calculation  that  the  German  plan— ^simple  but 
effective — was  based.  The  Russian  grip  on  the  Carpathians 
could  only  be  released  either  by  forcing  a  clear  road  through 
any  pass  into  Galicia,  or  by  turning  one  of  the  extreme  flanks. 
Had  the  Austrians  succeeded  in  breaking  through  as  far  as 
Jaslo,  Dmitrieff  would  have  been  cut  off  and  Brussilov  forced  to 
withdraw — followed  by  the  whole  line.  The  same  result  would 
follow  if  a  thrust  from  the  Bukowina  succeeded  in  recapturing 
Lemberg.  Both  methods  had  been  attempted,  and  both  had 
failed.  Germany's  overwhelming  superiority  in  artillery  could 
not  be  effectively  displayed  in  mountain  warfare,  but  Dmitrieff's 
position  on  the  Dunajec  offered  an  easy  avenue  of  approach. 

At  the  eleventh  hour  Dmitrieff  grasped  the  situation  and 
applied  to  Ivanoff  for  reenforcements.  Owing  to  some  blunder 
the  appeal  never  reached  the  Russian  chief,  and  Dmitrieff  had  to 
do  the  best  he  could.  Nothing  now  could  save  his  small  force 
from  those  grim  lines  of  gaping  muzzles  turned  against  his 
positions.  The  overture  began  on  April  28,  1915,  with  an  ad- 
vance on  the  Upper  Biala  toward  Gorlice,  by  Von  Mackensen's 
right.  Here  some  minor  attacks  had  been  previously  made,  and 
the  gradually  increasing  pressure  did  not  at  first  reveal  the  in- 
tent or  magnitude  of  the  movement  behind  it.  Meanwhile  the 
German  troops  about  Ciezkovice  and  Senkova — respectively 
northwest  and  southeast  of  Gorlice — were  moving  by  night 
nearer  to  the  battle  line.  The  Russian  front  line  extended  from 
Ciezkovice  in  a  southeasterly  direction.  Hence  it  soon  became 
clear  that  Gorlice  itself  was  to  be  the  main  objective  of  the  attack. 
A  Russian  official  announcement  of  May  2,  1915,  boldly  states: 

270  THE   STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

"During  the  nights  of  April  30  to  May  1  strong  Austrian  forces 
opened  an  offensive  in  the  region  of  Ciezkovice.  Our  fire  forced 
the  enemy  to  intrench  600  paces  in  front  of  our  trenches." 
Furthermore,  the  Germans  at  the  same  time  had  directed  artillery 
fire  and  bayonet  attacks  against  various  points  on  the  Rava, 
Pilica,  Nida,  and  the  Dunajec.  These,  however,  were  merely 
movements  aiming  at  diversion,  meant  to  mask  the  intentions  of 
the  main  attack  and  to  mislead  the  Russians.  On  the  evening  of 
May  1,  1915,  the  German  batteries  began  experimenting  against 
the  Russian  positions.  This  was  kept  up  all  night  while  the 
engineers  attempted  to  destroy  the  first  line  of  the  Russian  wire 
entanglements.  During  the  same  night  the  Austrians  dragged 
several  heavy  howitzers  across  the  road  from  Gladyszow  to 
Malastow,  and  got  them  into  position  without  the  knowledge  of 
the  Russians.  In  the  morning  of  May  2, 1915,  the  great  batteries 
began  to  roar  against  the  Russian  line — a  fire  such  as  had  per- 
haps never  been  witnessed  before.  A  spectator  thus  describes 
the  scene :  "In  one  part  the  whole  area  was  covered  with  shells 
till  trenches  and  men  were  leveled  out  of  existence."  It  was  re- 
ported that  700,000  shells  had  been  fired  in  the  space  of  four 
hours,  for  which  period  this  preliminary  bombardment  lasted. 
The  Russian  line  was  turned  into  a  spluttering  chaos  of  earth, 
stones,  trees,  and  human  bodies.  The  German  and  Austrian 
batteries  then  proceeded  to  extend  the  range,  and  poured  a  hur- 
ricane of  shells  behind  the  enemy's  front  line.  This  has  the 
effect  of  doubly  isolating  that  line,  by  which  the  survivors  of  the 
first  bombardment  cannot  retreat,  neither  can  reenforcements 
be  sent  to  them,  for  no  living  being  could  pass  through  the  fire 
curtain.  Now  is  the  time  for  the  attacker's  infantry  to  charge. 
Along  the  greater  part  of  the  Ciezkovice- Walastow  line  this  stage 
was  reached  by  ten  o'clock  in  the  morning  of  May  2,  1915. 

A  German  writer  tells  us  that  "in  this  part  of  the  front  in- 
fantry fighting  has  given  place  for  the  time  being  to  the  action 
of  our  heavy  artillery,  which  is  subjecting  to  a  terrible  fire  the 
positions  of  the  enemy.  These  positions  had  been  carefully  re- 
connoitered  during  the  lull  in  the  fighting  which  prevailed  dur- 
ing the  last  few  months.    Only  after  all  cover  is  destroyed,  the 

H  Grand  Duke  Nicholas  i 




enemy's  infantry  killed  or  forced  to  retire,  we  take  up  the  attack 
against  the  positions;  the  elan  of  our  first  attack  now  usually 
leads  to  a  favorable  result." 

At  Ciezkovice  the  Germans  pushed  bridges  across  the  Biala 
under  cover  of  a  furious  cannonade.  Troops  were  thrown  over, 
and  after  a  very  short  struggle  the  village  was  taken.  The  huge 
oil  tanks  soon  were  in  flames  and  Ciezkovice  a  heap  of  smolder- 
ing ruins.  The  Russian  defense  crumpled  up  like  smoke;  their 
position  blown  out  of  existence.  Their  guns  were  toys  compared 
with  those  of  the  Germans  and  Austrians.  North  of  Ciezkovice 
the  Prussian  Guard  and  other  German  troops  under  General  von 
Francois  fell  upon  the  Russians  and  forced  them  to  retire  toward 
the  Olpiny-Biecz  line.  The  ground  of  the  Russian  positions  on 
Mount  Viatrovka  and  Mount  Pustki  in  front  of  Biecz  had  been 
"prepared"  by  21-centimeter  (7-inch)  Krupp  howitzers  and  the 
giant  Austrian  30.5-centimeter  (10-inch)  howitzers  from  the 
Skoda-Werke  at  Pilsen.  The  shells  of  the  latter  weigh  nearly 
half  a  ton,  and  their  impact  is  so  terrific  that  they  throw  the 
earth  up  100  feet  high.  Whatever  had  remained  of  the  town  of 
Gorlice  in  the  shape  of  buildings  or  human  beings  was  mean- 
while being  wiped  out  by  a  merciless  spray  of  shells.  Being  the 
center  of  an  important  oil  district,  Gorlice  possessed  oil  wells, 
great  refineries,  and  a  suphuric-acid  factory.  As  the  flames 
spread  from  building  to  building,  streets  pouring  with  burning 
oil,  huge  columns  of  fire  stretching  heavenward  from  the  oil 
wells  in  full  blaze,  and,  over  all,  the  pitiless  hail  of  iron  and  ex- 
plosives pouring  upon  them,  the  horror  of  the  situation  in  which 
the  soldiers  and  civilians  found  themselves  may  be  faintly 
imagined.  Gorlice  was  an  inferno  in  a  few  hours.  When  the 
German  infantry  dashed  into  the  town  they  found  the  Russians 
still  in  possession.  Fighting  hand  to  hand,  contesting  every  step, 
the  Russians  were  slowly  driven  out. 

We  have  mentioned  that  German  troops  were  moving  on 
Senkova,  southeast  of  Gorlice,  by  night.  During  the  last  two 
days  of  April  the  Bavarians  captured  the  Russian  position  in  the 
Senkova  valley.  A  further  move  was  made  here  during  the 
night  of  May  1-2,  1915,  preparatory  to  dislodging  the  Russians 

18— War  St.  3 

272  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

from  the  ground  they  still  held.  At  seven  o^clock  in  the  morning 
the  big  howitzers  started  to  "prepare"  that  ground.  By  ten 
o'clock  it  was  deemed  that  every  living  thing  had  perished,  when 
the  "fire  curtain"  was  drawn  behind  the  Russian  position. 
Infantry  were  then  thrown  forward — some  Bavarian  regiments. 
To  their  intense  astonishment  they  were  received  with  a  most 
murderous  fire  from  Russian  rifles,  and  machine  guns.  The  first 
attack  failed  and  many  were  killed,  few  getting  beyond  the  wire 
entanglements.  Cautiously  other  troops  advanced  to  the  battered 
Russian  trenches  cut  off  from  the  rear  by  the  artillery  screen 
behind.  Yet  here  again  they  met  with  strenuous  resistance 
in  the  Zamczysko  group  of  hills.  The  Austrian  artillery  shelled 
the  heights,  and  the  Bavarians  finally  took  possession.  The 
Tenth  Austrian  Army  Corps  had  meanwhile  conquered  the 
Magora  of  Malastow  and  the  majority  of  the  heights  in  the  Ostra 
Gora  group.  On  Sunday,  May  2,  1915,  the  Austro-German 
armies  pierced  the  Dunajec-Biala  line  in  several  places,  and  by 
nightfall  the  Russians  were  retreating  to  their  last  hope — ^the 
line  of  the  Wisloka.  The  operations  round  Gorlice  on  that  day 
resulted  in  breaking  the  Russian  defenses  to  a  depth  of  over 
two  miles  on  a  front  of  ten  or  eleven  miles.  Mr.  Stanley  Wash- 
burn wrote  from  the  battle  field  at  the  time:  "The  Germans 
had  shot  their  last  bolt,  a  bolt  forged  from  every  resource  in 
men  and  munitions  that  they  could  muster  after  months  of  prep- 
aration." Of  the  Russian  army  he  said,  "it  was  outclassed 
in  everything  except  bravery,  and  neither  the  German  nor  any 
other  army  can  claim  superiority  in  that  respect." 

With  the  center  literally  cut  away,  the  keystone  of  the  Rus 
sian  line  had  been  pulled  out,  and  nothing  remained  but  to 
retire.  Ten  miles  north  of  Ciezkovice  lies  the  triangle  formed 
by  the  confluence  of  the  Dunajec  and  Biala  rivers  and  the  Zak- 
liczyn-Gromnik  road.  Within  this  triangle,  commanding  the 
banks  of  both  rivers  up  to  the  Cracow-Tarnow  line,  the  Rus- 
sians held  the  three  hills  marked  402,  419,  and  269  which  figures 
express  their  height  in  meters. 

During  February  and  March,  1915,  the  Austrians  attempted 
to  dislodge  the  enemy,  but  without  success.    It  was  now  neces- 


sary  to  take  those  positions  before  advance  could  be  made  against 
Tamow,  and  the  Fourth  Austro-Hungarian  Army,  commanded 
by  the  Archduke  Joseph  Ferdinand,  undertook  the  task.  At  six 
A.  M.  on  May  2  the  Austrian  artillery  opened  fire  against  Hill 
419  from  Mount  Val  (also  within  the  triangle) ,  and  the  opposite 
bank  of  the  Dunajec.  After  three  hours'  bombardment  some 
regiments  of  Tyrolese  fusiliers,  who  had  crossed  the  valley 
between  Mt.  Val  and  419  and  had  taken  up  positions  at  the  foot 
of  the  latter,  about  400  yards  from  the  Russian  trenches,  were 
ordered  to  charge.  Dashing  up  the  open,  steep  slope  the  fusiliers 
were  suddenly  enfiladed  from  their  right  by  a  spray  of  machine 
gun  and  rifle  fire,  killing  many  and  driving  back  the  survivors. 
Next  day  Hill  419  was  again  fiercely  shelled,  this  time  with 
deadly  effectiveness;  but  even  then  the  Russians  still  clung  to 
their  battered  ground. 

The  Austrians  now  charged  the  trenches  on  Hill  412,  whence 
the  fusiliers  had  been  ambushed  the  previous  day.  A  desperate 
hand-to-hand  encounter,  in  which  they  had  to  force  their  way 
step  by  step,  finally  gave  the  position  to  the  attackers.  The  few 
Russians  still  left  on  419  could  not  hold  out  after  the  loss  of 
412.  They  retired  northward  on  to  Height  269,  but  subsequently 
followed  the  general  retreat  of  the  line.  Still  farther  north, 
almost  at  the  right  flank  of  Dmitrieff' s  line,  the  Austrians 
effected  a  crossing  of  the  Dunajec  opposite  Otfinow,  thus  break- 
ing the  connection  between  the  West  Galician  Army  of  Dmitrieff , 
and  the  neighboring  Russian  Army  on  the  Nida — ^the  left  wing 
of  the  northern  groups  commanded  by  Alexeieff . 

Just  below  Tarnow,  however,  the  Russians  still  held  out; 
losing  the  three  hills  had  not  quite  broken  their  defense  on  the 
Biala.  The  right  wing  of  Von  Mackensen*s  army,  which  had 
smashed  the  Russian  front  around  Gorlice,  rapidly  moved  east 
in  an  almost  straight  line  to  reach  the  Dukla  Pass  and  cut  off 
the  retreat  of  the  Russian  troops  stationed  south  of  the  range 
between  Zboro  and  Nagy  Polena,  in  northwest  Hungary.  The 
left  wing,  on  the  other  hand,  advanced  in  a  northeasterly 
direction,  ever  widening  the  breach  made  in  the  enemy's  domain. 
This  clever  move  brought  the  Germans  to  the  rear  of  Tamow 

274  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

and  onto  the  lines  of  communications  of  the  Russians  holding 
it.  It  also  prevented  reenf orcements  from  reaching  the  truncated 
end  of  Dmitrieff's  right — or  what  had  been  his  right — wing. 
By  pushing  on  to  Dembica  and  Rzeszow,  along  which  route 
assistance  could  otherwise  have  been  sent  to  the  Russians,  Von 
Mackensen  opened  a  wide  triangle  into  Western  Galicia,  by 
drawing  an  almost  horizontal  line  from  Gorlice  to  Radjrmno,  be- 
tween Jaroslav  and  Przemysl,  and  from  there  perpendicular 
down  to  the  Uzsok  Pass. 

From  Uzsok  to  the  Lupkow  westward  stood  the  Second  Austro- 
Hungarian  Army  under  Boehm-Ermolli  on  the  north  of  the  Car- 
pathians. To  his  left,  southwest  of  the  Magora  of  Malastow, 
and  adjoining  the  formidable  Germanic  array  facing  the 
Dunajec-Biala  line  lay  the  Third  Austro-Hungarian  Army  under 
General  Boroyevitch  von  Bojna.  These  two  armies,  it  will  be 
l-emembered,  took  part  in  the  first  offensive  in  January,  and  had 
been  there  ever  since.  Both  of  these  armies  now  began  to 
advance  into  the  triangle,  and  the  brilliant  simplicity  of  Von 
Mackensen's  geometrical  strategy  becomes  clear.  Let  one 
imagine  Galicia  as  a  big  stone  jar  with  a  narrow  neck  lying  on 
the  table  before  him,  neck  pointing  toward  the  left  hand,  and 
he  will  obtain  an  approximately  accurate  idea  of  the  topographi- 
cal conditions.  That  side  of  the  jar  resting  on  the  table  repre- 
sents the  Carpathian  range,  solid  indeed,  but  with  numerous 
openings:  these  are  the  passes.  The  upper  side  of  the  jar 
represents  the  Russian  frontier,  across  which  the  invaders  had 
swarmed  in  and  taken  possession  of  the  whole  inside,  lining 
themselves  right  along  the  mouths  of  the  passes  at  the  bottom 
and  across  the  neck  upwards. 

For  months  the  Austrians  vainly  endeavored  to  force  an  en- 
trance through  the  thickest  walls — from  the  lower  edge,  and 
from  the  base  or  bottom  of  the  jar  (the  Bukowina) ,  apparently 
overlooking  the  rather  obvious  proposition  that  the  cork  was 
the  softest  part  and  that  was  Dmitrieff's  Dunajec-Biala  line. 
Here  at  least  no  mountain  range  stood  in  the  way.  It  may 
also  be  regarded  as  a  mathematical  axiom  that,  given  sufficient 
artillery  power,  the  strongest  defense  the  wit  of  man  could 


devise  can  be  smashed.  What  Mackensen  did,  therefore,  was 
to  blow  a  hole  through  the  cork,  push  in  a  pair  of  scissors  up  to 
the  rivet,  meanwhile  opening  the  blades  to  an  angle  of  about 
forty-five  degrees.  From  the  lower  or  southern  shoulder  of  the 
jar  the  Third  Austro-Hungarian  Army  pushes  forward  inside, 
supported  on  its  right  by  Boehm-Ermolli,  who  had  been  just 
inside  a  long  time,  but  could  get  no  farther.  They  began  to 
shepherd  the  Russian  troops  around  and  in  the  western  passes 
toward  the  lower  double-edged  blade  of  Von  Mackensen's  terrible 
scissors.  The  Russian  retreat  to  the  Wisloka  was  a  serious 
disaster  for  Dmitrieff ;  he  had  been  caught  napping,  and  had  to 
pay  dearly  in  men  and  guns  for  not  having  created  a  row  of 
alternative  positions.  His  force  had  been  a  cover  for  Brussi- 
lov's  operations  on  both  sides  of  the  western  passes  as  well  as 
for  the  whole  Russian  line  in  the  Carpathians.  Now  that  Von 
Mackensen  had  pried  the  lid  off,  Brussilov's  men  in  the  south 
encountered  enormous  difficulties  in  extricating  themselves  from 
the  Carpathian  foothills,  suddenly  transformed  from  compara- 
tive strongholds  into  death-traps  and  no  longer  tenable.  They 
suffered  severely,  especially  the  Forty-eighth  Division. 

Besides  the  menace  from  the  northwest  of  Von  Mackensen's 
swiftly  approaching  right,  a  third  blade  was  gradually  growing 
on  the  deadly  scissors,  in  the  shape  of  Boehm-Ermolli's  and  Von 
Bojna's  forces,  threatening  to  grind  them  between  two  relentless 
jaws  of  steel.  It  is  Sunday,  the  second  day  of  May,  1915;  to 
all  intents  and  purposes  the  battle  of  the  Dunajec,  as  such,  was 
over,  and  the  initial  aim  of  the  Germanic  offensive  has  been 
attained.  The  Russian  line  was  pierced  and  its  defense  shat- 
tered. Von  Mackensen's  "Phalanx"  was  advancing  two  mighty 
tentacles  guided  by  a  master  mind,  remorselessly  probing  for 
the  enemy's  strongest  points.  Its  formation  comprised,  in  the 
northeastern  tentacle,  the  Sixth  Austro-Hungarian  Army 
orps  and  the  Prussian  Guards ;  in  the  southern,  the  Bavarians 

der  Von  Emmich  and  the  Tenth  Austro-Hungarian  Army 
Corps  under  General  Martiny. 

On  May  3,  1915,  Dmitrieff's  troops  were  falling  back  farther 
every  hour,  continuously  fighting  rear-guard  actions  and  com- 


276  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

pelling  the  pursuers  to  conquer  every  foot  of  ground.  There 
was  a  powerful  reason  for  this  stubborn  retirement:  it  was  to 
gain  time  for  Brussilov  to  get  his  men  out  of  their  perilous 
positions  and  to  join  the  main  line  again  with  Dmitrieff's  reced- 
ing ranks.  If  this  could  be  effected,  the  fatal  gap  between  them 
— ^made  by  Von  Mackensen's  battering-ram — would  be  repaired, 
and  they  could  once  more  present  a  united  front  to  the  enemy. 
It  was  mentioned  a  little  farther  back  that  the  Austrians  had 
pierced  the  Dunajec  line  at  Otfinow,  north  of  Tamow,  by  which 
was  cut  in  two  the  hitherto  unbroken  Russian  battle  front,  from 
the  Baltic  to  the  Rumanian  frontier  (900  miles)  ;  the  "scissors"  at 
Gorlice  had  made  it  three;  if  Boehm-Ermolli's  drive  from  the 
Uzsok  upward  along  the  "triangle  line"  to  Jaroslav  succeeds,  there 
will  be  four  separate  pieces  of  Russian  front.  But  from  Tamow 
southward  to  Tuchow,  a  small  twenty-mile  salient  on  the  Biala, 
the  Russians  are  still  in  possession  on  May  4,  1915,  defying  the 
Fourth  Austro-Hungarian  Army. 



TT  is  a  matter  for  speculation  whether  the  numerous  successes 
J-  achieved  by  the  Russians  against  the  Austrians  and  Germans  in 
Galicia  and  the  Carpathians  during  the  first  seven  months  of 
the  war  had  begotten  a  spirit  of  overconfidence  among  the  Rus- 
sian commanders,  or  whether  it  was  not  in  their  power  to  have 
made  more  effective  preparations  than  they  had  done.  We  have 
seen  that  Dmitrieff  had  not  provided  himself  with  those  neces- 
sary safety  exits  which  were  now  so  badly  needed.  As  no 
artificially  prepared  defenses  were  at  hand,  natural  ones  had 
to  be  found.  The  first  defense  was  irretrievably  lost ;  the  second 
line  was  a  vague,  undefined  terrain  extending  across  the  hills 
between  Biala  in  the  west  and  the  River  Wisloka  in  the  east. 
Between  Tuchow  and  Olpiny,  the  Mountain  Dobrotyn  formed  one 


of  the  chief  defensive  positions,  being  1,800  feet  high  and  thickly 
covered  with  woods. 

Southward,  the  Lipie  Mountain,  about  1,400  feet,  formed  an- 
other strong  point.  Just  below  Biecz,  close  to  the  road  and  rail- 
road leading  to  Gorlice,  a  mountain  of  1,225  feet,  called  Wilszak, 
is  the  strategical  key  to  the  valley  of  the  lower  Ropa.  Between 
Biecz  and  Bednarka,  the  line  of  defense  followed  the  heights  of 
the  Kobylanka,  Tatarovka,  Lysa  Gora,  and  of  the  Rekaw ;  hence 
to  the  east,  as  the  last  defense  of  the  Jaslo-Zmigrod  road,  lay 
the  intrenched  positions  on  the  Ostra  Gora,  well  within  Brussi- 
lov's  sector.  Southward  of  the  Gorlice-Zmigrod  line  lay  the 
mountain  group  of  the  Valkova,  nearly  2,800  feet  high,  the 
last  defense  of  the  line  of  retreat  for  the  Russian  forces  from 

The  Wisloka  was  the  third  line  of  defense,  only  a  river,  and 
without  intrenchments.  From  Dembica  to  Zihigrod  it  runs 
roughly  parallel  with  the  Dunajec-Biala  line ;  its  winding  course 
separates  it  in  places  from  fifteen  to  thirty-five  miles  from  the 
latter  river.  Strong  hopes  were  entertained  that  the  Russians 
would  be  able  to  stem  the  Germanic  torrent  by  a  firm  stand  on 
the  Wisloka. 

A  fierce  battle  raged  on  the  third  and  fourth  of  May,  1915,  for 
the  possession  of  the  wooded  hills  between  the  Biala  and  the 
Wisloka.  The  Prussian  Guard  stormed  Lipie  Mountain  and  cap- 
tured it  on  the  third ;  on  the  fourth  they  took  Olpiny,  Szczerzyny 
and  the  neighboring  hills  at  the  point  of  the  bayonet. 

The  Thirty-ninth  Hungarian  Division,  now  incorporated  in 
the  Eleventh  German  Army  under  the  direct  command  of  Von 
Mackensen  himself,  had  advanced  from  Grybow  via  Gorlice  on 
the  Biecz  railway  line,  and  were  making  a  strong  attack  on  the 
Russian  positions  on  Wilczak  Mountain  with  a  tremendous  con- 
centration of  artillery.  It  seems  the  Russians  simply  refused 
to  be  blown  out  of  their  trenches,  for  it  required  seven  separate 
attacks  to  drive  them  out.  That  accomplished,  the  fate  of  Biecz 
was  decided  and  the  road  to  Jaslo — ^the  "key"  to  the  Wisloka 
line  of  defense — ^was  practically  open  to  General  Arz  von  Straus- 
senburg.   Lying  at  the  head  of  the  main  roads  leading  into  Hun- 

278  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

gary  through  the  Tilicz,  Dukla,  and  Lupkow  passes,  Jaslo  is  the 
most  important  railway  junction  in  the  whole  region  between 
Tamow  and  Przemysl.  It  was  at  Jaslo  that  Dmitrieff  had  held 
his  headquarters  for  four  months. 

Just  south  of  him,  barely  fifteen  miles  away,  General  von 
Emmich  and  General  Martiny,  with  the  "Bayonet  Bavarians'' 
and  the  Tenth  Austro-Hungarian  Army  Corps,  went  pounding 
and  slashing  a  passage  along  the  Bednarka-Zmigrod  road  and 
the  auxiliary  road  from  Malastow  to  Krempna.  They  were 
striving  hard  to  reach  the  western  passes  before  Brussilov 
had  time  to  withdraw.  He  began  that  operation  on  the  fourth. 
On  the  same  night  Von  Emmich  and  Martiny  reached  Krempna, 
and  the  last  line  of  retreat  for  the  Russians  around  Zboro  was 
imperiled.  They  have  yet  to  cross  the  range  from  Hungary  back 
into  Galicia.  So  subtly  potent  and  effective  was  the  pressure 
on  a  flank  that  the  whole  line — ^be  it  hundreds  of  miles  long — is 
more  or  less  influenced  thereby,  as  witness : 

On  the  same  night.  May  4,  1915,  the  retreat  spread 
like  a  contagion  to  the  entire  west  Galician  front,  compel- 
ling the  Russians  to  evacuate  northern  Hungary  up  to  the 
Lupkow  Pass;  in  that  pass  itself  preparations  are  afoot  to 
abandon  the  hard-earned  position.  It  is  not  fear,  nor  the  pre- 
caution of  cowardice  that  prompted  this  wholesale  removal  of 
fighting  men :  the  inexorable  laws  of  geometry  demanded  it.  The 
enemy  was  at  Krempna;  as  the  crow  flies  the  distance  from 
Krempna  to  the  northern  debouchment  of  Lupkow  is  eighty 
miles;  yet  Lupkow  was  threatened,  for  the  "line"  or  "front"  is 
pierced — the  vital  artery  of  the  defense  is  severed.  The  strength 
of  a  chain  is  precisely  that  of  its  weakest  link. 

The  course  of  events  become  complex ;  fighting,  advancing  and 
retreating  occurred  over  a  widespread  area.  Apparently  dis- 
connected movements  by  the  Austro-Germans  or  the  Russians 
fall  into  their  proper  places  in  accordance  with  the  general 
scheme  or  objective  either  side  may  have  in  view.  It  is  necessary 
to  follow  the  scattered  operations  separately.  We  will  therefore 
return  now  to  the  Tamow-Tucho  sector,  where  we  left  a  small 
Russian  force  holding  the  last  remnant  of  the  Dunajec-Biala 




280  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

front.  Tamow  had  been  the  supply  base  for  that  front,  and 
great  stores  of  provisions  and  munitions  still  remained  in  the 
town.  These  the  Russians  succeeded  in  removing  entirely.  The 
main  forces  had  already  withdrawn  in  perfect  order  and  fallen 
back  beyond  the  Wisloka.  During  the  night  of  May  4-5,  1915, 
two  regiments  of  the  Ninth  Austro-Hungarian  Army  Corps 
crossed  the  Biala  near  Tuchow  and  moved  northward  in  the 
direction  of  the  road  leading  from  Tamow  to  Pilzno,  along 
which  the  remainder  of  the  garrison  would  have  to  pass  in 
order  to  retreat.  On  the  hills  west  of  Pilzno  the  Russians  still 
held  a  position  to  protect  that  road.  By  the  morning  of  the 
sixth  everjrthing  had  gone  eastward,  and  the  Austrians  had 
surrounded  the  town. 

The  small  cavalry  detachment  that  had  been  left  behind  as  rear 
guard  cut  through  the  Austrian  lines  and  rejoined  the  main 
forces  on  the  Wisloka.  The  Austrians  had  been  bombarding 
Tarno  for  months  with  their  heaviest  artillery,  destroying  parts 
of  the  cathedral  and  the  famous  old  town  hall  in  the  process. 

On  May  7  the  Russians  withdrew  from  the  Pilzno  district, 
and  the  Dunajec-Biala  Russian  front  had  ceased  to  exist.  From 
the  hour  that  the  Austro-Germans  had  broken  through  the  line  at 
Ciezkovice,  on  May  2,  1915,  the  Russian  retreat  on  the  Wisloka 
had  begun.  Yielding  to  the  terrible  pressure  the  line  had  increas- 
ingly lost  its  shape  as  the  various  component  parts  fell  back, 
though  it  gradually  resumed  the  form  of  a  front  on  the 
Wisloka  banks,  where  most  determined  fighting  continued  for 
five  days. 

The  Russians  lost  much  of  their  artillery ;  they  had  to  reverse 
the  customary  military  practice  of  an  army  in  retreat.  If  the 
retreating  army  is  well  equipped  with  artillery  and  munitions, 
its  guns  cover  the  retreat  and  are  sacrificed  to  save  the  men. 
During  their  retreat  the  Russians  had  often  to  sacrifice  men  in 
order  to  save  their  guns  for  a  coming  greater  battle  at  some 
more  important  strategic  point.  Many  prisoners  fell  to  the  Ger- 
manic armies;  according  to  their  own  official  reports  they  took 
80,000  in  the  fighting  of  May  2-4,  1915.  What  the  Austro-Ger- 
man  side  lost  in  that  time  was  not  made  public. 




BY  the  time  the  retreating  Russians  had  reached  the  Wisloka 
they  had  to  some  extent  recovered  from  the  first  shock  of 
surprise,  and  were  better  able  to  attempt  a  determined  stand 
against  the  overwhelming  onrush  of  the  Austro-Germanic  troops. 
Ivanoff  hurriedly  sent  reenforcements  for  Dmitrieff  and  Ewarts 
which  included  the  Caucasian  Corps  of  General  Irmanoff  from 
the  Bzura  front.  The  heavy  German  guns  belched  forth  with 
terrible  effect,  and  the  Russians  could  not  reply  at  the  same 
weight  or  distance.  Bayonets  against  artillery  means  giving 
odds  away,  but  the  attempt  was  made.  With  a  savage  fury  that 
seems  to  belong  only  to  Slavs  and  Mohammedans — fatalists — 
the  Russians  hurled  themselves  against  the  powerful  batteries 
and  got  to  close  quarters  with  the  enemy.  For  nearly  twenty 
minutes  a  wild,  surging  sea  of  clashing  steel — bayonets,  swords, 
lances  and  Circassian  daggers — ^wielded  by  fiery  mountaineers 
and  steady,  cool,  well-disciplined  Teutons,  roared  and  flowed 
around  the  big  guns,  which  towered  over  the  lashing  waves 
like  islands  in  a  stormy  ocean.  A  railway  collision  would  seem 
mild  compared  with  the  impact  of  18,000  desperate  armed  men 
against  a  much  greater  number  of  equally  desperate  and  equally 
brave,  highly-trained  fighters.  But  machinery,  numbers  and 
skillful  tactics  will  overcome  mere  physical  courage.  The  Rus- 
sian avalanche  was  thrown  back  with  terrific  slaughter;  the 
Caucasian  Corps  alone  lost  over  10,000  men,  for  which,  it  is 
estimated,  they  killed  and  wounded  quite  as  many.  More  re- 
markable still  was  the  fact  that  they  captured  a  big  battery  and 
carried  off  7,000  prisoners.  For  five  days  the  storm  raged  back- 
ward and  forward  across  the  river;  during  the  more  violent 
bombardments  the  Russians  left  their  trenches  to  be  battered 
out  of  shape  and  withdrew  l»to  their  shelter  dugouts ;  when  the 
enemy  infantry  advanced  to  take  possession,  the  Russians  had 

282  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

returned  to  face  the  charge.  Whereas  cool,  machinelike  pre* 
cision  marks  the  German  soldier  in  battle  as  on  the  parade 
ground,  an  imperturbable  obstinacy  and  total  disregard  of 
mortal  danger  characterizes  the  Russian. 

During  the  night  of  May  6-7,  1915,  the  Austrians  sent  two 
regiments  across  the  Wisloka,  north  and  south  of  Brzoctek, 
about  midway  between  Pilzno  and  Jaslo,  under  cover  of  artillery 
posted  on  a  400-foot  hill  near  Przeczyca  on  the  opposite  bank, 
i.e.,  the  left.  Austrian  engineers  constructed  a  bridge  across  the 
river,  and  on  the  morning  of  May  7  the  Austrian  advance  guard 
were  in  possession  of  the  hills  north  of  the  town.  Infantry 
were  then  thrown  across  to  storm  Brzostek.  Here,  again,  they 
met  with  resolute  opposition  from  the  Russian  rear  guards  cov- 
ering the  retreat  of  the  main  armies,  which  had  already  fallen 
back  from  the  Wisloka.  Desperate  bayonet  fighting  ensued  in 
the  streets,  each  of  which  had  to  be  cleared  separately  to  dis- 
lodge the  Russians — ^the  civilians  meanwhile  looking  out  of  their 
windows  watching  the  animated  scenes  below.  Hungarian  troops 
in  overwhelming  masses  poured  across  the  river  and  finally  cap- 
tured the  town.  Once  more  on  the  backward  move,  the  Russians 
established  themselves  along  the  western  and  southern  fringe 
of  the  forests  by  Januszkovice,  only  eight  miles  away,  and  pre- 
pared to  make  another  stand.  More  fighting  occurred  here,  and 
during  May  7  and  8,  1915,  the  Russians  fell  back  farther  to- 
ward Frysztak,  on  the  river  Wistok. 

We  left  Von  Emmich  and  General  Martiny  with  the  Bavarians 
and  the  Tenth  Austro-Hungarian  Army  Corps  on  their  arrival 
at  Krempna  on  the  night  of  the  4th,  during  which  time  the 
Russians  were  making  desperate  efforts  to  evacuate  northern 
Hungary  and  the  western  passes.  The  main  forces  of  Von  Mac- 
kensen's  "phalanx"  were  meanwhile  pushing  on  toward  Jaslo, 
still  in  Russian  possession.  On  the  hills  west  of  the  Wisloka  the 
Russian  rear  guards  had  intrenched  themselves  and  held  their 
positions  till  nightfall  on  May  5,  1915,  all  with  the  object  of 
delaying  the  Germanic  advance  sufficiently  for  their  comrades 
to  clear  the  passes.  Then  they  fell  back  again  and  made  a 
stand  near  Tarnoviec,  about  six  or  seven  miles  east  of  Jaslo, 


where  they  dominated  an  important  strategic  position.  Between 
them  and  Jaslo  two  railways  ran  along  the  valley  of  the  River 
Jasliska,  forming  a  serious  obstacle  to  Von  Mackensen's  advance 
so  long  as  the  Russians  could  hold  it.  It  was  imperative  that 
they  should  be  cleared  out,  but  the  task  of  carrying  it  through 
was  a  difficult  one.  The  undertaking  fell  to  the  Hungarian 
troops  of  the  Thirty-ninth  Honved  Division,  who  advanced  to  the 
attack  again  and  again  only  to  be  driven  back  each  time  by  the 
Russian  fire  from  the  heights.  Big  howitzers  were  called  into 
play  and  soon  demolished  the  positions. 

The  Russians  retired  east  of  the  Wistok,  followed  by  Von 
Mackensen's  Austro-Hungarian  corps,  while  the  Prussian  Guards 
moved  on  toward  Frysztak,  where  the  Russian  troops  from  the 
Tarnow  sector  had  taken  up  positions  after  the  retreat  from 

On  May  7, 1915,  the  Prussian  Guards  had  passed  over  the  rail- 
way at  Krosno,  and  at  night  fell  upon  the  Russian  lines  east  of 
the  Wistok.  Particularly  fierce  encounters  took  place  near  Odrzy- 
kon  and  Korczina,  ten  to  fourteen  miles  southeast  of  Frysztak. 
A  little  farther  westward  Von  Mackensen  delivered  his  main 
attack  against  the  railway  crossing  at  Jaslo,  which  fell  on  the 
same  day.  May  7.  The  Russians  retreated  in  confusion  with 
Von  Mackensen  close  upon  their  heejs.  The  whole  defense  on 
the  Wisloka  collapsed,  and  nothing  apparently  could  now  save 
the  Dukla  and  those  troops  struggling  through  to  escape  from 
the  net  that  was  gradually  being  tightened  around  them.  Mean- 
while, General  Ewarts's  Army  of  the  Nida,  which  formed  the  con- 
necting link  between  the  Russian  northern  and  southern  armies, 
had  fallen  back  above  Tarnow  to  the  River  Czarna  in  order  to 
Keep  in  touch  and  conformity  with  Dmitrieff' s  shrinking  line, 
which  was  now  actually  broken  by  the  Wisloka  failure.  The 
Russian  position  was  extremely  critical,  for  it  seemed  that  the 
German  general  would  roll  up  the  two  halves  and  thereby  inflict 
a  crushing  and  decisive  defeat.  General  Ivanoff  appears  to  have 
recognized  Von  Mackensen's  intentions  in  time  to  devise  measures 
to  counteract  the  peril  and  save  his  left  (Brussilov's  army)  from 
disaster.    By  pushing  forward  strong  columns  from  Sanok  on 

284  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  Upper  San  to  impose  a  temporary  check  upon  the  advancing 
tide,  he  gained  a  brief  respite  for  the  troops  entangled  in  the 
passes.  To  that  sector  we  will  now  turn  to  review  the  course  of 

On  May  4,  1915,  the  Russians  began  to  evacuate  the  positions 
they  held  south  of  the  range  when  Von  Mackensen's  extreme 
right  approached  Krempna.  Forging  along  at  high  speed  the 
Germans  and  Austrians  occupied  the  towns  of  Dukla  and  Tylava, 
and  arrived  at  Rymanow — still  farther  east — on  the  following 
day.  The  town  of  Dukla  lies  some  fifteen  miles  due  north  of  the 
Galician  debouchment  of  the  pass  of  that  name,  and  Rymanow 
is  about  another  fifteen  miles  east  of  that.  Hence  the  German 
strategic  plan  was  to  draw  a  barrier  line  across  the  north 
of  the  Carpathians  and  hem  the  Russians  in  between  that 
barrier  and  the  Austro-Hungarian  armies  of  Boehm-Ermolli  and 
Von  Bojna.  It  must  distinctly  be  borne  in  mind  that  these  two 
forces  are  also  north  of  the  passes :  that  of  Von  Bojna  being  sta- 
tioned at  the  elbow  where  the  Germanic  line  turned  from  the 
Carpathians  almost  due  north  along  the  Dunajec-Biala  front,  or 
across  the  neck  of  our  hypothetical  jar.  The  Dukla  and  Lupkow 
passes  were  still  in  Russian  hands ;  these  were  the  only  two  thal^ 
the  Germanic  offensives  of  January,  February,  and  March,  1915, 
had  failed  to  capture ;  all  the  others,  from  Rostoki  eastward,  were 
held  by  the  Austrians  and  Germans.  It  was  through  the  Dukla 
and  Lupkow  that  the  Russians  obtained  their  foothold  in  north- 
ern Hungary,  and  it  was  the  only  way  open  to  them  now  to  get 
back  again.  Around  the  Laborcza  district  stood  the  Seventh 
Austro-Hungarian  Army  Corps  under  the  command  of  the  Arch- 
duke Joseph,  who  now  began  to  harass  them,  aided  by  the  Ger- 
man "Beskid  Corps"  under  General  von  Marwitz.  This  was  the 
only  section  in  the  range  where  the  Russians  held  both  sides. 
Boehm-Ermolli  had  forced  the  Rostoki  and  Uzsok,  but  hitherto 
had  been  unable  to  get  very  far  from  their  northern  exits — ^not 
beyond  Baligrod.  During  the  fighting  on  the  Dunajec  these  three 
armies  merely  marked  time ;  it  was  their  object  to  keep  the  Rus- 
sians in  Hungary  and  in  the  two  passes  until  Von  Mackensen 
had  thrown  the  right  of  his  "phalanx"  across  their  only  avenue 


of  escape.  That  time  was  now  rapidly  approaching,  and  Von 
Bojna  was  gradually  squeezing  Brussilov  from  the  west,  while 
Boehm-Ermolli  was  following  from  the  east  and  south.  It  ap- 
pears that  the  commanders  of  the  Twelfth  Russian  Army  Corps 
and  the  Third  Russian  Army,  which  stood  on  Hungarian  soil 
from  Zboro  to  Nagy  Polena,  did  not  grasp  the  full  significance  to 
them  of  the  Dunajec  catastrophe. 

Germanic  troops  were  building  a  wall  against  their  exits  be- 
fore they  had  seriously  thought  of  withdrawing.  Escape  was 
impossible  for  many  of  them;  some  had  managed  to  get  across 
the  Dukla  in  time,  while  those  left  behind  would  either  have  tc 
surrender  or  fight  their  way  through  the  lines  across  their  path 
in  the  north.  At  the  same  time  they  would  have  Von  Bojna  and 
Boehm-Ermolli  on  their  tracks.  To  make  matters  worse,  they 
were  also  being  pressed  severely  from  the  Hungarian  plains  by 
the  troops  which  hitherto  stood  inactive.  The  Second  Austro- 
Hungarian  Army  (Boehm-Ermolli)  was  fighting  on  both  sides 
of  the  range.  Through  Rostoki  they  attempted  to  separate  the 
Russians  around  Zboro  from  those  situated  farther  east  at  Nagy 
Polena.  We  have  stated  elsewhere  that  the  Forty-eighth  Divi- 
sion was  severely  handled.  They  were  surrounded  in  the  Dukla 
by  an  overwhelming  superior  force,  but  General  Komiloff,  the 
commander,  with  a  desperate  effort  and  no  little  skill,  succeeded 
in  hacking  his  way  through  the  enemy's  lines  and  bringing  a 
large  portion  of  his  force  safely  out  of  the  trap.  Inch  by  inch 
the  Russian  rear  guards  retreated,  fighting  tooth  and  nail  to 
hold  the  pass  while  their  comrades  escaped.  No  less  brave  were 
the  repeated  charges  made  by  the  Austrians — clambering  over 
rocks,  around  narrow  pathways  hanging  high  in  the  air,  dizzy 
precipices  and  mountain  torrents  underneath.  On  Varentyzow 
Mountain,  especially,  a  fierce  hand-to-hand  battle  was  fought 
between  Hungarians  and  Cossacks,  the  latter  finally  withdraw- 
ing in  perfect  order.  To  conduct  a  successful  retreat  in  the  face 
of  disaster  is  a  no  less  difficult  military  achievement  than  the 
gaining  of  a  decisive  victory,  and  Brussilov's  retreat  from  the 
passes  deserves  to  rank  as  a  masterly  example  of  skillful  tactics. 

On  May  8, 1915,  the  Third  Russian  Army  and  the  Forty-eighth 

286  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Division  had  reunited  with  Brussilov's  main  army  in  the  neigh- 
borhood of  Sanok,  twenty  miles  north  of  the  Lupkow.  When  the 
commanders  of  a  retreating  army  lose  their  heads  the  rank  and 
file  will  inevitably  become  demoralized  and  panic-stricken.  The 
retreat  became  a  rout,  and  the  possibility  of  making  a  stand,  and 
to  some  extent  retrieving  the  lost  fortune  of  war,  was  extremely 
remote.  A  deeper  motive  than  the  mere  reconquering  of  Galicia 
lay  behind  Von  Mackensen's  plan — ^he  aimed  at  nothing  less  than 
the  complete  overthrow  and  destruction  of  the  Russian  armies. 
It  was  a  gigantic  effort  of  the  Germanic  powers  to  eliminate  at 
least  one  of  their  most  dangerous  enemies.  Once  that  was  accom- 
plished it  would  release  some  millions  of  troops  whose  services 
were  needed  in  the  western  theatre  of  war.  The  original  plan 
had  fallen  through  of  crushing  Russia  quickly  at  the  beginning 
of  the  war,  before  she  would  have  had  time  to  get  ready,  and 
then  to  turn  against  France  in  full  force.  The  Austro-German 
Galician  campaign  was  planned  and  undertaken  with  that  specific 
object,  and  now,  although  defeated  and  in  full  retreat,  the  Rus- 
sian troops  still  formed  an  army  in  being,  and  not  a  fugitive, 
defenseless  rabble.  So  long  as  an  army  is  not  captured  or 
annihilated,  it  can  be  reorganized  and  again  put  in  the  field.  It 
is  on  this  consideration  that  so  much  importance  attaches  to  the 
handling  of  an  army  in  retreat.  The  Russians  did  not,  of  course, 
run  away;  on  the  contrary,  they  fought  desperately  and  stub- 
bornly throughout  the  retreat,  for  their  pursuers  did  not  average 
more  than  six  miles  per  day — a  fact  which  testifies  to  the  steady 
and  orderly  character  of  the  Russian  retirement.  They  suffered 
from  the  consequences  of  inadequate  preparation  and  lack  of 
foresight  on  the  part  of  their  leaders. 

The  Russian  troops  on  the  Lower  Wisloka  held  their  positions 
longest,  but  they  also  fell  back  about  May  8,  1915,  and  for  the 
next  two  days  enlgaged  the  enemy  near  some  villages  southwest 
of  Sanok.  Here  a  strong  force  had  collected,  which  not  only 
offered  a  powerful  resistance,  but  even  attempted  a  counter- 
attack against  their  pursuers.  Over  a  front  of  145  miles,  ex- 
tending from  Szczucin  near  the  Vistula  north  of  Tamow,  down 
almost  to  the  Uzsok  Pass,  a  fierce  battle  progressed  between 



May  8  and  10,  1915.  In  the  region  of  Frysztak,  where  the  Rus- 
sian line  was  weakest,  the  main  German  offensive  was  develop- 
ing its  strongest  attack.  Reenforcements  were  on  the  way,  but 
could  not  arrive  in  time.  For  the  moment  disaster  was  averted 
by  an  aggressive  Russian  counteroffensive  halfway  between 
Krosno  and  Sanok,  from  the  Besko-Jacmierz  front,  by  which 
move  sufficient  time  was  gained  to  enable  the  main  forces  to 
retreat.  The  Russian  defense  in  the  Vistok  Valley  collapsed  on 
May  10,  1915;  the  German  center  had  almost  arrived  within 
striking  distance  of  the  important  railway  line  from  Tamow  via 
Dembica  and  Rzeszow  to  Jaroslav  north  of  Przemysl.  At  Sanok 
the  battered  remnants  of  the  Russian  troops  who  had  escaped 
from  the  passes  maintained  themselves  with  the  greatest  diffi- 
culty. Heavy  German  artillery  followed  the  Bavarians  to 
Rymanow,  five  miles  from  the  Russian  line  at  Besko,  and  were 
now  playing  fiercely  upon  the  positions  west  of  Sanok.  The 
Tenth  Austro-Hungarian  Army  Corps  as  well  as  the  Seventh 
were  making  their  presence  felt  from  the  southwest  against 
Odrzechova  and  from  the  south,  whence  Von  Marwitz  with  the 
German  Beskid  Corps  was  rapidly  advancing.  To  the  southeast, 
Boehm-Ermolli  was  battering  the  Baligrod-Lutoviska  front, 
almost  in  the  same  position  he  occupied  at  the  end  of  January 
in  the  first  attempt  to  relieve  Przemysl. 

The  battle  was  practically  over  by  the  night  of  May  10,  1915 ; 
the  Russians  could  hold  out  no  longer  against  the  ever-increasing 
flood  of  Austrians  and  Germans  pouring  across  every  road  and 
pathway  against  their  doomed  line.  Blasted  and  scorched  by 
artillery,  machine-gun  and  rifle  fire;  standing  against  incessant 
bayonet  and  cavalry  charges;  harassed  by  the  Austrians  from 
the  south,  the  Russians  were  indeed  in  sore  straits.  Yet  they  had 
fought  well;  in  the  losing  game  they  were  playing  they  were 
exhausting  their  enemies  as  well  as  themselves  in  men  and 
munitions — factors  which  are  bound  to  tell  in  a  long,  drawn-out 
war.  Above  all,  they  still  remained  an  army :  they  had  not  yet 
found  their  Sedan.  No  alternative  lay  before  them — or  rather 
behind  them — other  than  retreat  to  the  next  possible  line  of 

defense — toward  Przemysl. 

19— War  St.  3 

288  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Between  May  11-12,  1915,  the  Germanic  troops  occupied  the 
districts  of  Sendziszow,  Rzeszow,  Dynow,  Sanok,  Lisko,  Lancut, 
and  Dubiecko.  Przevorsk  was  deserted  by  the  Russians  on  the 
13th.  The  Seventh  Russian  Railway  BattaUon,  under  Captain 
Ratloff,  brought  up  the  rear  of  the  retreat  to  the  Dembica-Jaro- 
slav  Hne.  From  Rzeszow  onward  this  battahon  were  employed 
in  destroying  stations,  plants,  tunnels,  culverts,  rolling  stock,  and 
railway  bridges,  to  hamper  as  much  as  possible  the  German  ad- 
vance. It  took  the  Austro-Hungarian  engineers  between  two 
and  three  weeks  to  repair  the  road  and  put  it  into  sufficient  work- 
ing order  to  transport  their  heavy  siege  artillery.  With  unin- 
terrupted labor  and  the  most  strenuous  exertions  they  could  only 
reconstruct  about  four  miles  per  day.  Repairs  and  renovations 
other  than  those  of  the  railway  system  were  necessary.  The 
wounded  had  to  be  sent  back  to  hospital,  and  fresh  troops  had  to 
be  brought  up  to  fill  the  gaps  torn  in  the  Austro-German  ranks 
during  all  the  severe  fighting  since  May  2,  1915.  It  is  not  known 
exactly  what  the  series  of  victories  cost  the  Germanic  armies  in 
casualties,  but  it  is  known  that  their  successes  were  dearly  bought. 
One  fairly  competent  authority  places  the  loss  at  between  120,000 
to  130,000.  From  May  2  to  May  12, 1915,  the  forces  of  Von  Mac- 
kensen,  the  Archduke  Joseph  Ferdinand,  and  Boroyevitch  von 
Boyna  claim  to  have  captured  103,500  men,  69  guns,  and  255 
machine  guns.  A  retreating  army  must  inevitably  lose  many  of 
their  number  as  prisoners,  besides  their  wounded  must  also  be 
abandoned.  Furthermore,  the  Russian  line  of  retreat  led  through 
rough  and  mountainous  country,  where  large  bodies  of  troops 
could  not  be  kept  in  touch  with  each  other.  Thus  it  frequently 
happened  that  isolated  detachments  were  captured  en  bloc  with- 
out being  able  to  offer  any  resistance.  In  the  neighborhood  of 
Sanok  and  the  watering  places  of  Rymanow  and  Ivonicz  some 
of  the  biggest  Russian  base  hospitals  were  situated.  These,  of 
course,  could  not  have  been  evacuated  in  time,  and  the  patients 
consequently  swelled  the  number  of  prisoners.  Most  of  the  guns 
captured  by  the  Austro-Germans  were  those  of  the  Russian  troops 
whose  retreat  from  northern  Hungary  and  the  passes  had  been 


They  often  sacrificed  large  bodies  of  troops  to  save  their  guns. 
The  lack  of  artillery  was  the  main  cause  of  their  defeat;  what 
little  they  could  save  from  the  wreck  was  therefore  husbanded 
with  jealous  care.  The  German  staff  accurately  calculated  on  the 
preponderance  of  heavy  artillery,  and  that  Russia  would  be  com- 
pelled to  bow  low  before  the  superior  blast  of  cannon  fire. 
Though  it  involved  the  sacrifice  of  many  miles  of  territory,  it 
was  now  the  Russian  object  to  draw  the  enemy's  line  out  to  the 
fullest  extent.  After  the  retreat  from  the  Wistok  the  Russian 
Generalissimo,  Grand  Duke  Nicholas,  was  concerned  only  to  save 
the  most  for  his  country  at  the  greatest  expense  to  her  enemies. 
It  meant  continual  retreat  on  a  gigantic  scale.  Przemysl,  cap- 
tured ten  weeks  ago,  lay  behind  Ivanoff 's  line,  and  Lemberg  was 
but  sixty  miles  beyond.  Two  hundred  miles  northward  the  Ger- 
mans were  hammering  at  the  gates  of  Warsaw.  A  retreat  such 
as  the  grand  duke  contemplated  might  involve  the  loss  of  all 
three  of  these  places,  but  it  would  stretch  the  Germanic  lines 
enormously  and  enable  the  Allies  in  the  west  to  strike  with  better 
effect.  No  territorial  considerations  must  stand  in  the  way 
against  the  safety  of  the  Russian  armies.  It  was  the  same  policy 
that  had  crippled  Napoleon  in  1812. 



N  order  to  keep  the  narrative  abreast  of  the  steadily  advanc- 
ing Austro-German  line,  we  must  change  occasionally  from 
me  sector  to  another  to  watch  the  progress  of  operations  over 
le  huge  battle  field.  In  accordance  with  the  details  laid  down 
in  the  great  strategic  plan,  each  of  the  different  Germanic  forces 
had  a  distinct  task  to  perform.  Turning  then  to  eastern  Galicia 
and  the  Bukowina,  we  find  that  on  May  1,  1915,  the  Austro- 
Hungarian  and  Russian  armies  were  facing  each  other  along 

290  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

almost  the  same  front  where  we  left  them  in  the  middle  of  March. 
That  front  extended  to  the  north  of  Nadvoma  and  Kolomea,  by 
Ottynia  across  to  Niczviska  on  the  Dniester,  and  from  there  east- 
ward along  the  river  toward  Chotin  on  the  Russian  frontier  of 

By  the  beginning  of  May,  1915,  the  spring  floods  had  subsided, 
when  operations  became  again  possible.  General  Lechitsky,  on 
the  Russian  side,  probably  aimed  at  recovering  the  Pruth  Valley, 
while  the  Austrian  commander.  General  von  Pflanzer-Baltin, 
directed  his  efforts  to  establishing  himself  on  the  northern  bank 
of  the  Dniester.  He  would  then  be  able  to  advance  in  line  with 
the  Germanic  front  that  was  pressing  on  from  the  west,  and 
northward  from  the  Carpathian  range  between  Uzsok  and  the 
Jablonitza  passes;  otherwise  his  force  would  lag  behind  in  the 
great  drive,  a  mere  stationary  pivot.  At  that  time  he  held  about 
sixty  miles  of  the  Odessa-Stanislau  railroad  (which  runs  through 
the  valley  via  Czemovice  and  Kolomea)  with  the  Russians  only 
twenty  miles  north  of  the  line.  If  that  position  could  be  taken 
the  Austrians  would  have  the  South  Russian  line  of  communica- 
tions in  their  hands,  for  it  was  along  this  line  that  supplies  and 
reenforcements  were  being  transported  to  Ivanoff 's  front  on  the 
Wisloka  from  the  military  centers  at  Kiev  and  Sebastopol.  Thus 
the  railway  was  of  tremendous  importance  to  both  belligerents. 
What  it  meant  to  the  Austrians  has  been  stated ;  to  the  Russians 
its  possession  offered  the  only  opportunity  for  a  counteroffensive 
in  the  east  that  could  possibly  affect  the  course  of  the  main  op- 
erations on  the  Wisloka,  San,  and  later  the  Przemysl  lines.  But 
however  successful  such  a  counteroffensive  might  prove,  it  could 
not  have  exerted  any  immediate  influence  on  the  western  front. 
With  the  Transylvania  Carpathians  protecting  the  Austro-Ger- 
man  eastern  flank,  there  would  still  be  little  hope  of  checking  the 
enemy's  advance  on  Lemberg  even  if  Lechitsky  succeeded  in 
reconquering  the  whole  of  the  Bukowina  and  that  part  of  eastern 
Galicia  south  of  the  Dniester.  Every  strategic  consideration, 
therefore,  pointed  to  the  Dniester  line  as  the  key  to  the  situation 
for  the  Austrian  side,  and  Von  Pflanzer-Baltin  decided  to  stake 
all  on  the  attempt. 



292  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

On  May,  6,  1915,  the  machine  was  set  in  motion  by  a  violent 
bombardment.  By  the  8th  the  Austrians  captured  the  bridge- 
head of  Zaleszczyki;  on  the  9th  the  Russians  drove  them  out 
again,  capturing  500  men,  3  big  guns,  1  field  gun,  and  a  number 
of  machine  guns.  On  May  10  the  Russians  took  the  initiative 
and  attacked  a  front  of  about  forty  miles,  along  the  entire 
Dniester  line  from  west  of  Niczviska  to  Uscie  Biskupic,  crossed 
into  the  Bukowina  and  advanced  to  within  five  miles  of  Czemo- 
witz  from  the  east.  A  little  stream  and  a  village  both  named 
Onut  are  situated  southwest  of  Uscie  Biskupic.  Here  a  detach- 
ment of  Don  Cossacks  distinguished  themselves  on  May  10,  1915. 
Advancing  toward  the  Austrian  wire  entanglements  in  face  of  a 
terrific  fusilade,  they  cut  a  passage  through  in  front  of  the 
Austrian's  fortified  positions.  Before  the  latter  realized  what 
was  happening  the  Cossacks  were  on  top  of  them,  and  in  a  few 
minutes  a  ferocious  bayonet  struggle  had  cleared  out  three  lines 
of  trenches.  Russian  cavalry  poured  in  after  them,  hacking  the 
Austrian's  rear,  and  compelling  them  to  evacuate  the  entire 
district.  The  Cossacks  charged  into  the  hurriedly  retreating 
masses — on  horse  and  on  foot,  with  saber,  lance,  and  bayonet, 
capturing  4,000  prisoners,  a  battery  of  machine  guns,  several 
caissons  and  searchlight  apparati. 

The  entire  northern  bank  of  the  Dniester  was  in  Russian 
possession  by  the  night  of  May  10,  1915;  several  desperate 
counterattacks  attempted  by  the  Austrians  on  the  11th  com- 
pletely failed  to  recover  the  lost  ground.  Two  days  later  a  Rus- 
sian official  reported:  "In  this  operation  the  Austrian  units 
which  led  the  offensive  were  repulsed  near  Chocimierz  with  heavy 
losses.  Our  artillery  annihilated  two  entire  battalions  and  a 
third  surrendered.  Near  Horodenka  the  enemy  gave  way  about 
seven  o'clock  in  the  evening  of  the  same  day  and  began  a  dis- 
orderly retreat.  We  again  captured  several  thousand  prisoners, 
guns,  and  some  fifty  ammunition  caissons."  Being  a  junction 
of  six  roads  and  a  railway  station  on  the  curved  line  from 
Kolomea  to  Zaleszczyki,  Horodenka  is  considered  to  be  the  most 
important  strategic  point  along  the  Dniester-Czernowitz  front. 
It  was  undoubtedly  a  severe  blow  to  the  Austrians. 



During  the  night  of  May  11,  1915,  and  the  next  day  they 
evacuated  a  front  of  about  eighty-eight  miles,  and  retired  south 
of  the  Pruth.  General  Mishtchenko  led  his  Cossacks  on  the 
Austrian  trail,  taking  several  towns  on  their  way  to  Nadvorna, 
which  they  captured  after  a  fierce  fight.  From  here  they  took 
possession  of  part  of  the  railway  line  from  Delatyn  to  Kolomea, 
and  completely  severed  the  connection  between  Von  Pflanzer- 
Baltin's  forces  and  those  of  Von  Linsingen  lying  along  the  north 
of  the  range.  Larger  bodies  of  Russian  troops  were  on  the  way 
to  Kolomea ;  on  May  13,  1915,  they  stormed  and  carried  some 
strongly  fortified  Austrian  positions  eight  miles  north  of  the 
town,  in  front  of  which  the  Austrians  had  placed  reenforcements 
and  all  their  last  reserves.  By  dint  of  great  efforts  they  held 
their  position  here,  but  from  May  9  to  May  14, 1915,  the  Russians 
drove  them  back  elsewhere  on  a  front  of  over  sixty  miles  for  a 
distance  of  about  twenty  miles,  also  capturing  some  20,000  pris- 
oners with  many  guns  and  valuable  stores  of  munitions.  About 
the  middle  of  May  matters  quieted  down  in  the  eastern  sector; 
the  only  fighting  of  importance  consisted  of  severe  artillery  com- 
bats around  Czemowitz  and  Kolomea.  The  issue  of  the  conflict 
hung  in  the  west  with  Von  Mackensen's  armies ;  fighting  in  the 
Bukowina  at  this  stage  became  an  unnecessary  expenditure  of 
strength  and  energy.  The  fate  of  eastern  Galicia  was  being 
decided  140  miles  away,  on  the  banks  of  the  River  San,  to  which 
region  we  will  now  direct  the  reader's  attention. 


TO     THE      SAN 

AFTER  the  Russian  troops  retreated  from  the  Lower  Wisloka 
-  northward  toward  the  confluence  of  that  river  with  the 
Vistula  they  held  the  two  important  bridgeheads  of  Sandomierz 
and  Rozvadov. 

294  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

On  May  14,  1915,  Ivanoff' s  right  was  being  forced  toward  the 
Vistula  in  the  vicinity  of  Opatow.  This  right  wing  was  the  army 
under  General  Ewarts,  which  since  December,  1914,  had  been 
stationed  in  strongly  fortified  positions  on  the  Nida  in  Russian 
Poland.  The  front  extended  across  the  frontier  into  western 
Galicia  and  joined  on  to  the  right  wing  of  Dmitrieff' s  Dunajec- 
Biala  front,  which  was  shattered  between  Otfinow  and  Gorlice. 
The  retreat  of  Dmitrieff' s  army  was  in  an  easterly  direction  along 
Tamow,  Pilzno,  Dembica,  Rzeszow,  and  Lancut  to  Przevorsk  on 
the  San ;  from  the  region  of  Gorlice  and  Ciezkovice  along  Biecz, 
Jaslo,  Frysztak,  Krosno  to  Djoiow,  Dubiecko,  and  Sanok,  the 
latter  also  on  the  San.  The  troops  that  Brussilov  extricated  from 
the  passes  and  those  with  which  he  held  the  northern  part  of  the 
western  Carpathians  against  Boehm-Ermolli  were  now  likewise 
concentrated  on  the  San.  A  glance  at  the  map  will  show  that 
the  Russian  front  on  the  San  from  Przevorsk  down  to  Sanok 
forms  a  shield  between  the  Germanic  advance  and  the  two  towns 
of  Jaroslav  and  Przemysl.  It  will  also  be  observed  that  General 
Ewarts's  forces  about  Rozvadov  are  on  the  west  side  of  the  San, 
that  is  to  say,  nearer  toward  the  advancing  Austrians  under  the 
Archduke  Joseph  Ferdinand. 

The  retreat  in  Galicia  necessitated  modifications  in  the  Russian 
front  in  Poland  on  the  way  to  Warsaw.  The  line  south  of  the 
Pilica  had  to  be  withdrawn  and  positions  on  the  Nida  abandoned 
to  conform  with  the  retreating  line  in  Galicia.  New  positions 
were  taken  up  along  Radom  and  across  the  Kamienna  River. 
The  pivot  or  hinge  from  which  the  line  was  drawn  back  was  the 
town  of  Ivanlodz,  about  fifty-five  miles  southwest  of  Warsaw. 
North  of  Ivanlodz  the  front  remained  unaltered.  While  this  line 
shifting  was  in  progress  (in  Poland)  the  German  troops  hung 
closely  to  the  heels  of  the  retiring  Russians,  evidently  mistaking 
the  motive  behind  the  change  of  position.  Mr.  Stanley  Wash- 
burn thus  summarizes  the  results  of  these  retreating  battles : 

"Regarding  the  movement  as  a  whole,  suffice  it  to  say  that  in 
the  two  weeks  following  the  change  of  line  one  (Russian)  army 
inflicted  upon  the  enemy  a  loss  of  nearly  30,000  in  killed, 
wounded,  and  prisoners.    The  Russian  losses  were  comparatively 


trifling."  The  Austro-German  forces  were  following  up  leisurely 
the  retreating  Russian  corps,  not  expecting  any  serious  fighting 
to  occur  until  the  lines  behind  the  Kamienna  were  reached. 

Instead  of  that,  however,  on  May  15,  1915,  the  Russian  com- 
mander suddenly  halted  the  main  body  of  his  troops  in  front  of 
his  fortified  positions  on  a  line  extending  from  Brody  by  Opatow 
toward  Klimontow.  Between  May  15-17,  1915,  a  battle  developed 
on  this  front,  which  is  the  more  notable  as  it  is  one  of  the  few  in 
this  war  fought  in  the  open  without  trenches.  To  quote  Mr. 
Washburn :  "In  any  other  war  it  would  have  been  called  a  good- 
sized  action,  as  from  first  to  last  more  than  100,000  men  and 
perhaps  350  to  400  guns  were  engaged." 

The  Austro-Germans  came  on  in  four  groups.  The  Third  Ger- 
man Landwehr  was  moving  from  the  southwest  by  Wierzbnik 
against  Ilza,  slightly  to  the  north  of  Lubienia.  Next  to  it,  com- 
ing from  the  direction  of  Kielce,  was  the  German  Division  of 
General  Bredow,  supported  by  the  Eighty-fourth  Austrian  Regi- 
ment. This  body  was  advancing  against  Ostroviec,  the  terminus 
of  a  railway  which  runs  from  the  district  of  Lodz  to  the  south- 
east by  Tomaszow  and  Opoczno,  and  crosses  the  Ivangorod- 
Olkusz  line  haffway  between  Kielce  and  Radom.  Farther  to  the 
south  three  Austro-Hungarian  divisions  were  also  advancing — 
namely,  the  Twenty-fifth  Austrian  Division  against  Lagow,  and 
the  Fourth  Austrian  Landwehr  Division,  supported  by  the  Forty- 
first  Honved  Division,  against  Ivaniska ;  they  moved  along  roads 
converging  on  Opatow.  The  Twenty-fifth  Austrian  Division, 
commanded  by  the  Archduke  Peter  Ferdinand,  was  composed  of 
crack  regiments,  the  Fourth  Hoch  and  Deutschmeisters  of 
Vienna,  and  the  Twenty-fifth,  Seventeenth,  and  Tenth  Jager 
battalions.  The  Russians  were  outnumbered  about  40  per  cent. 
The  supposedly  demoralized  Russians  were  not  expected  to  give 
any  battle  short  of  their  fortified  line,  to  which  they  were  thought 
to  be  retiring  in  hot  haste.  The  Russian  general  selected  the 
Austrians  on  whom  to  spring  his  first  surprise,  but  commenced 
by  making  a  feint  against  the  German  corps,  driving  in  their 
advanced  guards  by  vigorous  attacks  which  caused  the  whole 
force  to  halt  and  begin  deployment  for  an  engagement. 

296  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

This  occurred  on  May  15,  1915.  On  the  same  day,  with  all 
his  available  strength,  he  swung  furiously  with  Opatow  as  an 
axis  from  both  north  and  south,  catching  in  bayonet  charge  the 
Twenty-fifth  Division  on  the  road  between  Lagow  and  Opatow. 
Simultaneously  another  portion  of  his  command  swept  up  on  the 
Fourth  Division  coming  from  Ivaniska  to  Opatow.  "In  the  mean- 
time a  strong  force  of  Cossacks  had  ridden  round  the  Austrians 
and  actually  hit  their  line  of  communications  at  the  exact  time 
that  the  infantry  fell  on  the  main  column  with  a  bayonet  charge, 
delivered  with  an  impetuosity  and  fury  that  simply  crumpled  up 
the  entire  Austrian  formation.  The  Fourth  Division  was  meet- 
ing a  similar  fate  farther  south,  and  the  two  were  thrown  to- 
gether in  a  helpless  mass,  losing  between  3,000  and  4,000  casual- 
ties and  nearly  3,000  in  prisoners,  besides  a  large  number  of 
machine  guns  and  the  bulk  of  their  baggage.  The  remainder, 
supported  by  the  Forty-first  Honved  Division,  which  had  been 
hurried  up,  managed  to  squeeze  themselves  out  of  their  predica- 
ment by  falling  back  on  Uszachow,  and  the  whole  retired  to 
Lagow,  beyond  which  the  Russians  were  not  permitted  to  pursue 
them,  lest  they  should  break  the  symmetry  of  their  own  line."  It 
is  admitted  by  the  Austrians  themselves  that  their  losses  were 
very  severe  in  this  battle.  An  Austrian  source  at  the  time  stated 
that  on  May  16,  1915,  not  a  single  officer  and  only  twenty-six 
men  were  left  of  the  entire  Fourth  Company,  First  Battalion  of 
the  Tenth  Austrian  Infantry  Regiment.  By  the  17th  of  May  the 
Austrians  had  withdrawn  more  than  twelve  miles  from  the  scene 
of  the  disaster. 

During  the  following  night.  May  25,  1915,  an  Austrian  divi- 
sion was  moving  from  the  line  of  advance  of  General  Bredow's 
troops  along  the  Lagow-Opatow  road  where  it  is  separated  by  a 
spur  of  the  Lysa  Gora,  the  highest  mountain  group  in  Russian 
Poland.  The  Russians,  elated  over  their  recent  victory,  crossed 
the  mountains  by  a  forced  march,  and  fell  on  the  right  flank  of 
the  German  formation,  while  other  troops  opened  a  general 
frontal  attack  against  it.  Bredow  was  compelled  to  fall  back  in 
haste  in  the  direction  of  Bodzentyn  and  to  call  for  assistance 
from  the  adjoining  Fourth  German  Landwehr  Division.    The 

BATTLE    OF   THE    SAN  297 

sudden  withdrawal  of  that  division  had  the  effect  of  weakening 
the  German  line  southwest  of  Radom  near  the  Radom-Kielce  and 
the  Konsk-Ostroviec  railway  crossings.  The  opportunity  of 
thinning  the  enemy's  line  in  that  sector  was  too  good  to  be  lost, 
for  a  Russian  communique  of  May  17,  1915,  states  that  "near 
Gielniow,  Ruski-Brod,  and  Suchedniov  our  sudden  counterattacks 
inflicted  severe  losses  on  the  enemy's  advance  guards."  Having 
thus  checked  the  German  advance  for  the  time  being,  the  Rus- 
sians ceased  from  further  troubling  to  await  developments  on  the 


BATTLE     OF     THE     SAN 

WHEN  the  Austro-German  armies  reached  the  line  of  the  San 
on  May  14,  1915,  the  battle  for  mid-Galicia  was  over,  and  a 
fresh  chapter  of  the  campaign  opened  with  the  battle  of  the  San, 
which  might  more  fittingly  be  described  as  the  battle  for 
Przemysl.  The  position  of  Ivanoff's  right  has  been  shown;  his 
right  center  lay  west  of  the  Lower  San;  the  center  east  of  the 
river  covered  Przemysl ;  his  left  center  extended  along  the  Upper 
Dniester,  while  his  left,  under  Lechitsky,  was  keeping  Von 
Pflanzer-Baltin  employed.  Von  Mackensen's  "phalanx"  was 
slowly  coming  into  action  again,  directing  its  course  toward  the 
Russian  center.  The  "phalanx"  was  compelled  to  travel  slowly, 
for  it  carried  about  2,000  pieces  of  artillery  with  ample  muni- 
tions, and  the  railroads  had  been  wrecked  by  the  retreating  Rus- 
sians. What  has  been  described  by  military  writers  as  "Von 
Mackensen's  phalanx"  was  a  concentration  of  troops  along  the 
lines  on  which  the  strongest  resistance  was  expected  or  where 
the  quickest  advance  was  intended.  No  special  group  of  forces 
appear  to  have  been  set  apart  for  that  purpose ;  there  was  very 
little  shifting  about  or  regrouping  necessary  during  the  cam- 
paign, and  so  well  was  the  plan  arranged  that  the  concentrations 
occurred  almost  automatically  wherever  and  whenever  they  were 

298  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

most  needed.  The  infantry  marched  in  successive  lines  or 
echelons,  about  forty  yards  apart,  while  in  the  ranks  the  men 
were  allowed  about  four  feet  elbow  room  apiece.  For  frontal 
attacks  this  might  be  considered  fairly  close  formation,  but  Von 
Mackensen  calculated  more  upon  the  disintegrating  effect  of  his 
artillery  to  first  demoralize  the  enemy  and  wreck  his  position, 
after  which  the  infantry  came  into  play  to  complete  the  destruc- 
tion. Without  an  overwhelming  supply  of  artillery  the  "phalanx" 
plan  would  have  been  unworkable — ^machine  guns  would  exact 
too  heavy  a  sacrifice  of  Hfe. 

Ivanoff's  chief  object  for  the  moment  was  to  hold  the  enemy 
in  check  long  enough  to  allow  Przemysl  to  be  cleared  of  ammuni- 
tions and  supplies,  and  to  withdraw  the  troops  in  possession  of 
the  place.  Already,  on  May  14,  1915,  the  German  troops  of  Von 
Mackensen's  army  had  occupied  Jaroslav,  only  twenty-two  miles 
north  of  the  fortress.  Ivanoff  had  concentrated  his  strongest 
forces  on  the  line  between  Sieniava,  north  of  Przevorsk,  and 
Sambor,  thirty  miles  southeast  of  Przemysl.  Here  he  had  de- 
ployed the  three  armies  which  had  held  the  entire  front  from  the 
Biala  to  Uzsok  in  the  beginning  of  May,  1915,  nearly  twice  as 
long  as  the  line  they  were  now  guarding.  These  were  to  fight  a 
holding  battle  on  the  center  while  he  adopted  a  series  of  vigorous 
counterthrusts  on  his  right  and  left  wings.  By  the  retirement  of 
the  center  Ewarts  had  been  compelled  to  fall  back  from  the  Nida 
to  the  Vistula  with  Woyrsch's  Austrian  army  against  him.  When 
Ewarts  dropped  behind  Kielce  in  Russian  Poland,  Woyrsch 
seized  the  junction  of  the  branch  line  to  Ostroviecs  in  front  of 
the  Russian  line.  Ivanoff  decided  to  venture  a  counterattack 
which  would  at  the  same  time  relieve  the  pressure  on  his  center 
and  also  check  the  move  on  Josefov,  dangerously  near  to  the 
Warsaw-Ivangorod-Lublin  line.  The  result  of  this  plan  was  the 
brilHant  surprise  attack  on  the  Austrians  and  Germans  previ- 
ously described.  Along  the  San  the  troops  just  south  of  Ewarts 
delivered  a  fierce  attack  and  drove  the  Archduke  Ferdinand  back 
to  Tamobrzeg  on  the  Vistula.  Ivanoff  next  drew  as  many  reen- 
forcements  from  that  flank  to  strengthen  his  center  as  was  com- 
patible with  safety.    What  had  happened  meanwhile  on  Ivanoff 's 

BATTLE    OF   THE    SAN  299 

extreme  left — in  eastern  Galicia  and  the  Bukowina — has  already 
been  stated.  These  counterattacks  may  be  regarded  as  merely 
efforts  to  gain  time,  but  the  hour  of  another  great  battle  was  at 

The  battle  of  the  San,  one  of  the  greatest  of  the  war,  opened 
on  May  15,  1915.  Jaroslav  was  in  German  hands;  the  Fourth 
Austro-Hungarian  Army  (Archduke  Joseph  Ferdinand)  reached 
the  western  side  of  the  San  on  the  14th ;  by  the  16th  the  Austro- 
German  armies  held  almost  the  entire  left  bank  of  the  river  from 
Rudnik  to  Jaroslav,  about  forty  miles.  They  crossed  at  several 
points  on  the  same  day  and  enlarged  their  hold  on  the  right  bank 
between  Jaroslav  and  Lezachow  near  Sieniava,  which  they  cap- 
tured. A  German  division  arrived  at  Lubaczovka,  due  north  of 
Jaroslav,  and  half  of  the  Germanic  circle  around  Przemysl  was 
now  drawn.  The  German  plan  was  an  advance  in  force  from 
the  Sieniava-Jaroslav  front  against  the  Przemysl-Lemberg  rail- 
way, the  most  vulnerable  point  of  the  Russian  line  of  retreat  from 
the  fortress.  Fifteen  bridges  were  accordingly  erected  over  the 
San  in  that  sector  between  May  20-24,  1915,  across  which  the 
German  battering  ram  was  to  advance  on  Przemysl.  South  of 
E,the  town  mounted  patrols  came  into  touch  with  Russian  cavalry ; 
four  Austro-Hungarian  and  one  German  army  corps  were  stand- 

Lg  prepared  between  Dobromil  and  Sambor;  Sambor  was  oc- 
cupied by  them.    The  Russians  held  the  left  bank  close  to  the 
iver  from  Sieniava  to  Jaroslav,  and  northward  of  the  former 
ind  to  the  west  as  far  as  Tarnobrzeg.    From  Jaroslav  their  front 
ran  in  almost  a  straight  line  for  thirty  miles  southeastward  to 
^the  outer  and  northern  forts  around  Przemysl,  described  nearly 
complete  circle  around  the  western  and  southern  forts  to 

[osciska  on  the  east,  thence  south  to  Sambor,  and  from  Sambor 
Stryj.     From  Stryj  eastward  to  the  Bukowina  the  line  re- 

lained  unaltered.    In  that  region  Lechitsky  and  Von  Pflanzer- 

taltin  had  been  conducting  a  campaign  all  by  themselves;  they 

rere  now  resting,  waiting,  watching. 
While  great  Germanic  preparations  for  the  capture  of  Przemysl 
were  proceeding  north  of  the  town,  the  battle  opened  on  Satur- 
day, May  15,  1915,  in  the  south,  against  the  Russian  front  be- 

300  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

tween  Novemiasto  and  Sambor.  Here  the  Austro-German  troops 
were  thrown  against  Hussakow  and  Krukenice  to  hack  their 
way  through  trenches  and  barbed-wire  entanglements  in  order 
to  reach  the  Przemysl-Lemberg  railway  and  thereby  complete  the 
circle.  "At  the  cost  of  enormous  sacrifices  the  enemy  succeeded 
in  capturing  the  trenches  of  our  two  battalions." 

But  on  May  17,  1915,  these  trenches  near  Hussakow  were 
recaptured  by  the  Russians.  The  Austrians  returned  to  the 
charge,  however,  and  by  May  19  were  within  six  miles  of 
Mosciska.  By  May  21  they  had  overcome  the  main  Russian  de- 
fenses to  the  east  of  Przemysl  and  were  threatening  the  garri- 
son's line — their  only  line — of  retreat  to  Grodek,  for  other  Ger- 
manic forces  were  advancing  upon  Mosciska  from  the  north. 

On  May  21,  1915,  the  Russians  opened  a  sudden  counteroffen- 
sive  along  the  whole  line  in  a  desperate  effort  to  save,  not  the 
fortress,  but  the  garrison.  The  Austrians  had  destroyed  most  of 
the  forts  before  they  surrendered  the  town  on  March  22;  and 
forts  cannot  be  built  or  reconstructed  in  a  few  weeks.  Besides, 
the  Austrians  knew  the  ground  too  well.  Von  Mackensen's 
"phalanx"  was  meanwhile  advancing  against  the  Jaroslav- 
Przemysl  front  with  Von  Bojna's  corps  on  his  right;  Boehm- 
Ermolli  deserted  the  passes  which  had  so  long  occupied  him  and 
was  now  pressing  against  the  south  of  the  town  while  Von 
Marwitz  on  his  right  attempted  to  seize  the  railway  between 
Sambor  and  Dobromil.  Von  Linsingen  was  forging  ahead  toward 
Stryj  and  the  Dniester;  he  had  finally  worked  through  the  ill- 
fated  Koziova  positions,  and  was  now  able  to  rest  his  right  upon 
Halicz.  From  there  his  connection  with  Von  Pflanzer-Baltin 
had  been  broken  by  Lechitsky,  and  was  not  repaired  till  June  6, 

The  Russian  counteroffensive  was  a  homeopathic  remedy,  on 
the  principle  of  "like  curing  like:"  an  enveloping  movement 
against  being  enveloped  themselves  at  Przemysl;  but  the  case 
was  hopeless.  Yet  they  met  with  some  successes  of  a  temporary 
nature.  Between  the  Vistula  and  the  San  they  captured  some 
towns  and  villages;  they  also  got  very  close  to  Radava,  north 
of  Jaroslav,  and  forced  the  Austro-Germai?  troops  to  fall  back 


on  ro  the  left  bank  of  the  river  on  a  considerable  line  of  front 
north  of  Sieniava,  where  they  captured  many  prisoners  and 

The  counteroffensive  reached  its  zenith  on  May  27,  1915,  when 
Irmanow's  Caucasian  Corps  stormed  Sieniava  and  captured 
something  like  7,000  men,  six  big  guns,  and  six  pieces  of  field 
artillery.  Von  Mackensen  resumed  the  offensive  on  May  24,  by 
advancing  due  east  of  Jaroslav,  capturing  Drohojow,  Ostrov, 
Vysocko,  Makovisko  and  Vietlin  all  in  one  day.  Radymno  was 
occupied  by  the  Austro-Hungarians  under  General  Arz  von 
Straussenburg,  still  further  narrowing  the  circle  and  compelling 
the  Russians  to  fall  beyond  the  San.  On  the  twenty-fifth  the 
Austrians  followed  them  over,  captured  the  bridgehead  of 
Zagrody,  the  village  of  Nienovice  and  the  Heights  of  Horodysko, 
while  Von  Mackensen's  troops  farther  north  captured  Height 
241.  South  of  the  village  of  Naklo,  between  Przemysl  and 
Mosciska,  a  hill  650  feet  high  was  violently  attacked;  it  com- 
manded the  only  line  of  retreat  from  the  fortress  still  left  open. 
To  the  south  of  the  town  the  Russian  counteroffensive  tried  to 
outflank  the  Austrian  troops  which  had  approached  close  to  the 
fortress  and  the  railroad  to  Lemberg.  With  the  assistance  of 
strong  reenforcements  the  Russians  were  able  to  check  the 
advance  here  and  make  2,200  prisoners,  besides  capturing  am- 
munitions and  machine  guns. 



THE  counteroffensive  ended — of  necessity — on  May  24,  1915. 
The  Russians  could  still  offer  an  effective  resistance  between 
Krukienice  and  Mosciska,  but  the  pressure  of  continuous  attack 
against  their  positions  around  Hussakow  grew  fiercer  every 
hour.  The  enemy  was  knocking  at  the  outer  ring  of  the  forts; 
from  the  west  the  heaviest  cannons  were  pouring  shot  and  shell 

302  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

with  such  violence  that  the  fall  of  Przemysl  could  no  longer  be 
prevented.  Most  of  the  troops  had  already  been  withdrawn,  as 
well  as  the  supplies  and  munitions;  only  a  small  garrison  re- 
mained behind  to  man  the  guns  of  the  forts  to  the  last  moment; 
the  little  avenue  to  safety  on  the  east  was  still  open. 

On  May  30,  1915,  the  Austrian  batteries  began  their  deadly 
work  on  the  Grodek  line  near  Medyka.  The  exit  was  under  fire ; 
since  May  17,  Przemysl  had  been  invested  from  three  sides,  and 
the  fourth  was  all  but  closed.  From  the  northern  side,  guarded 
by  the  Bavarians  under  General  Kneusel,  twenty-one  centimeter 
Krupp  howitzers  bombarded  the  Russian  positions  round 
Korienice  and  Mackovice,  drawing  ever  nearer  the  forts  com- 
manding the  road  and  railway  to  Radymno.  The  Tenth  Austro- 
Hungarian  Army  Corps,  approaching  froml  Krasiczyn, 
endeavored  to  rush  some  of  the  outer  works,  but  paid  heavily 
for  the  venture.  They  settled  down  before  the  forts  of  Pralko- 
t^ice,  Lipnik,  Helicha  and  Grochovce,  and  those  round  Tatarovka 
mountain.  General  Artamoff,  the  Russian  commander  of 
Przemysl,  had  laboriously  reconstructed  some  of  the  old  Aus- 
trian forts  and  equipped  them  with  Russian  12-centimeter 
howitzers.  As  the  Austrians  had  brought  only  their  15- 
centimeter  howitzers,  they  were  obliged  to  wait  until  their  30.5 
batteries  arrived  before  they  could  undertake  any  serious  attack. 

These  batteries  came  on  the  scene  about  May  25,  1915,  it  took 
five  days'  preparation,  and  the  final  bombardment  began  on  the 
30th.  It  was  an  ironical  circumstance  that  the  Austrians  and 
Germans  were  in  numerous  places  sheltering  themselves  behind 
the  very  earthworks  which  the  Russians  had  constructed  when 
they  were  besieging  the  place  two  months  earlier.  There  had 
been  no  time  to  destroy  them  on  the  retreat. 

The  northern  sector  of  the  outer  ring  of  forts  fell  on  May  30, 
1915,  when  the  Bavarians  captured  the  Russian  positions  near 
Orzechovce.  A  terrific  bombardment  was  directed  against  the 
entire  northern  and  northwestern  front;  great  columns  of  in- 
fantry were  pushed  forward  to  finish  the  cannons'  work — still 
the  Russians  hung  on,  ever  bent  on  doing  all  possible  damage 
to  the  enemy. 

••iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii I mill iiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii I iiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiir 



During  the  night  of  May  30-31,  1915,  the  enemy  succeeded 
in  approaching  within  200  paces,  and  at  some  points  even  in 
gaining  a  footing  in  the  precincts  of  Fort  No.  7,  around  which 
raged  an  obstinate  battle  that  lasted  until  two  in  the  after- 
noon of  the  31st,  when  he  was  repulsed  after  suffering 
enormous  losses.  The  remnants  of  the  enemy  who  had  entered 
Fort  No.  7,  numbering  23  officers  and  600  men,  were  taken 

Since  the  20th  of  May,  1915,  the  clearing  of  the  road  had 
been  going  on;  Von  Mackensen  battering  the  western  forts  and 
the  river  line  as  far  as  Jaroslav,  and  Boehm-Ermolli  struggling 
to  force  the  southern  comer  to  get  within  range  of  the  Lem- 
berg  railway.  On  his  right.  Von  Marwitz  had  become  stuck  in 
the  marshes  of  the  Dniester  between  Droholycz  and  Komarno. 
The  Bavarians  on  the  north  again  let  fly  their  big  guns  against 
the  forts  round  Dunkoviczki  on  May  31,  1915.  At  four  in  the 
afternoon  they  ceased  fire ;  the  forts  and  defenses  were  crumpled 
up  into  a  shapeless  mass  of  wreckage.  Now  Prussian,  Bavarian 
and  Austrian  regiments  rushed  forward  to  storm  what  was  left. 
They  still  found  some  Russians  there,  severely  mauled  by  the 
bombardment;  but  they  could  no  longer  present  a  front.  They 
retreated  behind  the  ring.  The  Tenth  Austro-Hungarian  Army 
Corps  now  made  another  attempt  on  Pralkovice  and  Lipnik.  Von 
Mackensen's  men  captured  two  trenches  near  Fort  No.  11 — 
"they  had  to  pay  a  heavy  price  in  blood  for  every  yard  of  their 
advance."  Heavy  batteries  are  also  spitting  fire  against  Forts 
Nos.  10  and  12.  When  the  curtain  of  night  fell  over  the  scene 
of  carnage  and  destruction,  two  breaches  had  been  made  in  the 
outer  ring  of  the  forts. 

June  2,  1915,  dawned — a  bright,  warm  summer's  day ;  the  sun 
rose  and  smiled  as  impassively  over  the  Galician  mountains, 
and  valleys,  and  plains  as  it  had  smiled  through  countless  ages 
before  the  genius  of  man  had  invented  even  the  division  of  time. 
From  all  sides  of  the  doomed  fortress  eager,  determined  men 
were  advancing;  Fort  No.  10  was  captured  at  noon  by  the 
Twenty-second  Bavarian  Infantry  Regiment;  later  in  the  day  the 
Prussian  Grenadier  Guards  took  possession  of  Fort  No.  12; 

304  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

during  the  night  the  besieger's  troops  marched  into  the  village 
of  Zuravica,  within  the  outer  ring.  Austrian  troops  had  broken 
through  from  the  southwest  and  also  penetrated  the  inner  circle. 

June  3,  1915,  dawned  and  again  the  sun  smiles  over  Galicia 
and  sees  the  same  iron  belt  of  machinelike  men  still  nearer  the 
fortress;  but  the  haggard  defenders,  where  are  they?  Gone! 
Flown!  They  have  vanished  during  the  night.  Austrians  and 
Bavarians  march  into  the  town  early  in  the  morning.  The  only 
enemies  they  meet  are  the  dead. 

Przemysl  has  fallen  again — fallen  before  twenty  times  as 
powerful  a  blow  as  that  which  struck  it  down  seventy-two  days 

Before  proceeding  with  the  progress  of  Von  Mackensen  and 
his  mighty  ''phalanx,"  let  us  briefly  trace  the  progress  of  Von 
Linsingen,  whom  we  left  on  the  road  to  Stryj  and  the  Dniester, 
or  rather,  attempting  to  force  that  road.  While  the  forts  of 
Przemysl  were  being  smashed  in  the  north.  Von  Linsingen  was 
pounding  and  demolishing  the  Russian  positions  between 
Uliczna  and  Bolechov.  Heavy  mortars  and  howitzers  were  at 
the  same  time  being  placed  into  position  in  front  of  the  Russian 
trenches  between  Holobutow  and  Stryj. 

On  May  31,  1915,  they  began  to  roar,  and  before  long  the 
trenches  were  completely  pulverized — ^the  very  trenches  that 
thousands  of  Germans  and  Austrians  had  died  in  in  vain  attempts 
to  carry  by  assault.  The  Thirty-eighth  Hungarian  Honved  Divi- 
sion were  sent  to  finish  the  work  of  clearance  and  take  possession 
of  Stryj.  The  entire  Russian  line  withdrew  to  the  Dniester,  step 
by  step,  ever  fighting  their  favorite  rear  guard  actions,  killing 
and  capturing  thousands  of  their  enemies.  They  retired  behind 
the  Dniester,  but  maintained  their  hold  on  any  useful  strategical 
position  south  of  the  river,  so  far  as  was  possible  without  im- 
periling the  continuity  of  their  line. 

We  must  also  consider  two  more  Austro-German  sectors  in 
order  to  bring  the  combatants  stationed  there  into  line  with  the 
Germanic  advance — the  Uzsok  Pass  and  the  Bukowina-ct^m- 
Eastem  Galicia  sectars.  In  the  former  the  army  of  Vop 
Szurmay  stood  beside  that  of  Von  Linsingen  opposite  the  Ninth 


Russian  Army.  Von  Szurmay  led  his  men  out  of  the  pass  and 
advanced  northward  on  May  12,  after  the  fall  of  Sanok  had 
forced  the  Russians  away  from  their  positions  in  the  vicinity  of 
it.  Their  line  of  retreat  was  threatened  by  the  Austrian  ap- 
proach to  Sambor. 

On  May  16,  1915,  Von  Szurmay  moved  across  the  upper  Stryj 
near  Turka  and  passed  along  secondary  roads  in  the  direction 
of  the  oil  districts  of  Schodnica,  Drohobycz  and  Boryslav,  arriv- 
ing on  May  16-17,  1915.  Von  Linsingen's  troops  had  started 
their  advance  on  the  same  day  as  those  of  Von  Szurmay,  when 
the  Russians  round  Koziowa  had  to  retire  for  the  purpose  of 
keeping  in  touch  with  their  line :  the  same  pressure  that  Sambor 
exerted  on  the  Uzsok.  Here  again  the  Russians  adopted  rear- 
guard tactics  and  considerable  fighting  occurred  during  their 
retreat  to  Stryj  and  Bolechow,  both  of  which  were  eventually 
captured  by  Von  Linsingen. 

In  Eastern  Galicia  and  the  Bukowina  matters  had  come  almost 
to  a  standstill  between  Lechitsky  and  Von  Pflanzer-Baltin  about 
the  middle  of  May,  1915.  When  the  former  had  cut  the  latter's 
connection  with  the  main  line,  the  brigade  of  General  von  Blum 
and  other  adjoining  German  troops  on  the  extreme  right 
of  Von  Linsingen  tried  hard  to  relieve  the  pressure  of  Lechitsky 
on  the  Austrian  forces.  Not  till  after  the  fall  of  Przemysl  was 
the  connection  restored,  when  the  Russians  had  to  fall  back  from 
Kalusz  and  Nadvoma;  on  June  9  they  evacuated  Obertzn, 
Horodenka,  Kocman  and  Sniatyn.  Lechitsky  was  also  com- 
pelled to  withdraw  from  the  Bukowina  between  Zaleszczyki, 
Onut,  and  Czernowitz,  where  the  Austrians  were  moving  along 
the  Dniester  in  the  north,  the  Pruth  in  the  south,  and  over  the 
hills  in  the  center  against  the  village  of  Szubraniec.  Here  the 
Russians  once  more  inflicted  servere  losses  on  the  Austrians,  but 
being  in  danger  from  a  flanking  movement  by  the  Forty-second 
Croatian  Infantry  through  the  Dniester  forests,  they  retired 
from  the  Bukowina  on  to  Russian  territory  on  June  12,  1915. 

306  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 



THE  capture  of  Przemysl  and  of  Stryj  terminates  the  second 
stage  of  the  Austro-German  offensive  in  Galicia.  The  third 
stage  may  be  described  as  the  battle  for  Lemberg,  or  Lwow. 
Lemberg  is  the  ancient  capital  of  Galicia,  and  formerly  bore  the 
name  of  Lwow.  The  Austrians  many  years  ago  had  changed 
it  to  "Lemberg."  When  the  Russians  captured  the  town  on 
September  3,  1914,  they  had  given  it  back  the  old  Slavonic  name, 
which,  however,  was  destined  soon  to  be  transformed  back  again 
into  the  more  pronounceable  appellation  of  "Lemberg." 

It  is  estimated  that  between  April  28,  1915,  and  the  recapture 
of  Przemysl  the  Russian  forces  in  Galicia  had  been  diminished 
by  at  least  a  quarter  of  a  million  casualties.  The  heaviest  losses 
occurred  among  Dmitrieff' s  troops  in  the  first  days  of  May,  1915, 
but  in  the  battles  on  the  San,  at  the  close  of  the  month,  the  forces 
of  Von  Mackensen's  "phalanx"  were  also  greatly  reduced.  Along 
the  entire  Galician  front,  it  is  computed  that  quite  600,000 
Austro-German  troops  were  put  out  of  action. 

While  the  fight  for  Przemysl  was  in  full  swing  an  important 
event  of  the  war  occurred — Italy  joined  the  enemies  of  Austria 
on  May  3,  1915;  the  Dual  Monarchy  had  now  to  defend  her 
western  frontier  as  well.  Dankl  and  Von  Bojna  were  transferred 
to  the  Italian  front  with  a  considerable  portion  of  their  Galician 
troops.  A  general  redistribution  of  units  was  effected  among 
the  Austrian  and  German  armies.  The  army  of  the  Archduke 
Joseph  Ferdinand  was  held  along  the  lower  San  as  far  as 
Sieniava.  Von  Mackensen  was  advancing  east  of  Jaroslav  along 
the  railway  toward  Rawa-Ruska.  Boehm-Ermolli  was  fighting 
on  the  road  to  Lemberg  from  Mosciska.  An  army  under  Count 
Bothmer  was  operating  near  the  Dniester  marshes,  beyond 
which,  farther  south,  a  group  of  armies  under  Von  Linsingen 
(mainly  German)  had  forced  the  passage  of  the  Dniester  at 
Zuravno,  and  was  trying  to  advance  on  Lemberg  and  catch 


Ivanoff' s  main  forces  on  the  flank.  This  last  movement,  if  suc- 
cessful, would  be  the  most  effective  method  of  crushing  the 
retreating  Russian  armies :  being  thus  outflanked,  some  of  their 
lines  of  retreat  would  be  cut  and  a  dissolution  of  a  large  portion 
of  the  retiring  forces  could  hardly  have  bden  avoided.  How- 
ever, all  attempts  in  this  direction  failed.  The  Russians 
gradually  rolled  up  their  line  on  the  Dniester  from  west  to  east, 
keeping  step  with  the  retreat  of  the  armies  which  were  facing 
west.  With  strong  reenforcements  from  Kiev  and  Odessa 
Brussilov  commanded  the  Dniester  front  under  the  direction  of 
General  Ivanoff.  If  only  the  ponderous  advance  of  Von  Macken- 
sen  could  have  been  arrested,  Brussilov  would  have  had  little 
diflSculty  in  sweeping  Voi^Linsingen  back  to  the  Carpathian  bar- 
rier. A  somewhat  similar  condition  existed  in  the  north,  where 
the  Austrians  were  at  the  mercy  of  Ivanoff's  strong  right  wing. 
The  archduke's  front  was  smashed  at  Rudnik  early  in  June, 
1915;  his  forces  were  driven  back  a  day's  march  and  lost  4,000 
men  in  prisoners,  besides  many  guns.  The  Second,  Third  and 
Fourth  Tyrolese  regiments  were  almost  annihilated.  German 
troops  were  hurried  to  the  rescue.  Boehm-Ermolli  also  got  into 
serious  difficulties  at  Mosciska,  where  the  Russians  held  him  up 
for  a  week  with  a  furious  battle.  Ivanoff  was  scoring  points 
against  all  his  individual  opponents  excepting  only  Von  Mac- 
kensen.  The  "phalanx,"  always  kept  up  to  full  strength  by  a 
continuous  influx  of  reserves  and  provided  with  millions  of  high- 
explosive  shells,  not  only  pursued  its  irresistible  course  eastward, 
but  had  to  turn  now  right,  now  left,  to  help  Austrian  and  Ger- 
man commanders  out  of  trouble.  Heavy  howitzers  lumbered 
along  the  way  to  Rawa-Ruska — ^not  to  Lemberg,  but  to  the  north 
of  it,  on  the  flank  of  the  Russian  army  still  holding  the  Lower 
San.  This  army  had  therefore  to  retire  northward  to  the  river 
line  of  the  Tanev  stream,  cautiously  followed  by  the  archduke's 
forces.  The  "phalanx"  had  again  saved  them  from  disaster. 
Similarly,  at  Mosciska,  when  Boehm-Ermolli  tried  to  storm  the 
Russian  position  by  mass  attacks,  his  infantry  was  driven  back 
with  such  terrible  punishment  that  they  could  not  be  induced  to 
make  another  advance.    There  was  nothing  to  be  done  here,  but 

308  THE    STORY    GF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

wait  till  Von  Mackensen  turned  the  flank  of  the  Russian  position 
for  them,  which  he  did  in  one  of  the  most  stubborn  conflicts  of 
the  war— the  battle  of  the  Lubaczovka,  a  tributary  of  the  San 
between  Rawa-Ruska  and  Lemberg.  Never  were  the  fighting 
abilities  of  Slav  and  Teuton  more  severely  tested.  For  over  a 
week  the  struggle  raged ;  a  half  million  men  were  brought  up  in 
groups  and  flung  against  the  Russian  front.  Shell,  shrapnel, 
bullets  and  asphyxiating  bombs  finally  wore  down  the  Russian 

Incapacitated  by  physical  exhaustion  and  outnumbered  by 
three  to  one,  the  Russian  infantry  gave  way  on  June  13,  1915. 
The  "phalanx"  drove  into  their  ranks  and  advanced  rapidly  in  a 
northerly  direction  on  its  great  flanking  movement.  But  the 
Russian  spirit  was  not  broken,  for  at  this  critical  moment  Gen- 
eral Polodchenko  rode  out  with  three  regiments  of  cavalry — the 
Don  Cossacks,  the  Chernigov  Hussars,  and  the  Kimburn  Dra- 
goons. They  dashed  into  the  unbroken  lines  of  the  triumphant 
German  infantry  like  a  living  hurricane,  sabered  the  enemy,  and 
put  thousands  on  the  run.  Swerving  aside,  they  next  charged 
deep  into  the  German  rear,  mauled  the  reserves  into  confusion, 
hacked  their  way  out  again  and  captured  several  machine  guns. 
The  most  remarkable  feature  about  this  extraordinary  exploit 
was  the  fact  that  the  losses  sustained  by  the  cavalry  amounted 
only  to  200  killed  and  wounded.  The  effect  on  the  "phalanx," 
however,  was  such  that  no  more  attacks  were  made  that  day,  and 
the  Russians  were  able  to  retire  to  the  hills  near  Rawa-Ruska. 
Ivanoff  was  now  compelled  to  draw  reenforcements  from  other 
parts  of  the  line  to  strengthen  his  front  at  Rawa-Ruska.  This 
meant  weakening  Ewarts's  against  the  archduke  and  Brussilov 
against  Boehm-Ermolh.  The  downfall  of  the  Dunajec-Biala 
front  had  been  attributed  by  the  Russian  War  Staff  to  overcon- 
fidence  or  neglect  on  the  part  of  General  Dmitrieff,  who  was 
subsequently  relieved  of  his  command  and  replaced  by  General 
Lesch.  At  an  official  inquiry  Dmitrieff  was  exonerated  and  re- 
instated on  the  reasonable  ground  that,  whatever  precautions  of 
defense  he  might  have  taken,  they  would  have  proved  ineffective 
against  the  preponderance  of  the  German  artillery. 


After  the  battle  of  Lubaczow  the  Russian  line  drew  back  about 
twenty  miles.  For  the  defense  of  Lemberg  the  front  ran  in  a 
concave  form  from  along  the  River  Tanev,  five  miles  from 
Rawa-Ruska,  down  to  Grodek  and  Kolodruby ;  then  eastward  be- 
hind the  Dniester  to  Zuravno  and  Halicz.  The  marshes  of  the 
Dniester,  then  swollen  by  heavy  rains,  formed  a  good  natural 
defense ;  the  intrenchments  on  the  hills  north  of  Grodek  to  Rawa- 
Ruska  protected  the  approaches  to  Lemberg  from  that  direction. 
The  weakest  spot  lay  around  Janov,  fifteen  miles  north  of  Grodek, 
where  the  level  ground  would  permit  the  easy  transport  of  heavy 
artillery.  This  position  had  been  fortified  with  trenches  and 
wire  entanglements.  Here  also  were  concentrated  the  troops 
withdrawn  from  other  parts  of  the  line,  and  four  armored  trains 
with  quick-firing  guns  from  the  depot  at  Rovno.  General  Ivanoff 
had  no  intention  of  making  any  decisive  stand  against  the 
"phalanx" ;  neither  did  he  think  of  risking  his  armies  in  a  battle 
for  Lemberg.  That  town  was  certainly  of  great  military  and 
political  importance  —  worth  a  dozen  Przemysls  —  and  worth 
fighting  for.  But  for  that  he  would  need  artillery  in  enormous 
quantity.  Von  Mackensen  carried  2,500  guns  with  him,  as  well 
as  siege  trains  of  heavy  howitzers.  Ivanoff  possessed  none  of 
these,  and  could  therefore  hope  only  to  fight  rear-guard  actions 
while  retiring  before  Von  Mackensen.  In  any  other  part  of  the 
Galician  line  except  the  center  he  had  little  to  fear.  We  left  Von 
Linsingen  forcing  the  Dniester  at  Zuravno.  He  got  the  bulk  of 
his  army  across,  the  main  advance  commanded  by  Von  Bothmer, 
who  captured  the  northern  heights  and  penetrated  the  forests 
near  the  Stryj-Tamopol  railway.  They  were  less  than  fifty  miles 
from  Lemberg. 

The  "retreating"  Brussilov  suddenly  turned  round  and  fell  on 
Von  Bothmer's  advance.  The  fight  lasted  three  days,  with  the 
result  that  the  Austro-Germans  were  obliged  to  fall  back  across 
the  Dniester,  leaving  behind  2,000  killed  and  wounded,  besides 
17  guns,  78  machine  guns,  348  officers  and  15,430  men  as  pris- 
oners, June  8-10,  1915. 

On  June  11,  1915,  however,  the  Germans  renewed  the  attack 
on  Zuravno,  recaptured  the  town,  and  on  June  12  were  five  miles 

310  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

north  of  it.  By  June  13  they  had  made  ten  miles,  when  Brus- 
silov  lashed  out  again.  Within  two  days  the  Germans  were  back 
on  the  Dniester.  Von  Mackensen  had  meanwhile  concentrated 
a  new  series  of  heavy  batteries  around  Jaroslav  and  formed  a 
new  "phalanx"  (with  reenf  or  cements)  west  of  the  San  between 
Piskorovice  and  Radymno.  Another  attempt  was  preparing  to 
break  through  Ivanoff's  right  wing. 

A  violent  bombardment  began  on  June  12,  1915,  and  Austro- 
Hungarian  troops  crossed  the  river  and  occupied  both  Sieniava 
and  Piskorovice.  Next  day  the  advance  spread  along  the  whole 
line,  extending  from  Tarnoviec  on  the  Zlota  to  the  Radymnc 
Javorov  road,  pressing  north  and  eastward  against  the  Russian 
front.  Pivoting  on  Sieniava,  Von  Mackensen  swung  his  right 
toward  Mosciska,  which  Von  Marwitz  captured  on  June  14,  1915. 
The  same  night  the  Archduke  Joseph  Ferdinand's  entire  army 
was  slowly  wheeling  from  the  San  toward  the  Tanev,  facing 
due  north. 

On  June  16,  1915,  the  left  of  this  line  was  already  inside  the 
borders  of  Russian  Poland,  and  its  right  wing  along  the  entire 
Tanev  front.  By  June  16  numerous  towns  and  villages  were 
taken  by  the  Germans.  The  Wolff  Telegraphic  Bureau  an^- 
nounced  that  Von  Mackensen's  army  had  captured  40,000  men 
and  69  machine  guns,  which  undoubtedly  referred  to  all  the 
Galician  groups,  for  on  June  12,  1915,  Von  Mackensen  had 
"replaced"  the  Archduke  Frederick  as  generalissimo  of  the 
Austro-Hungarian  armies.  The  "phalanx"  was  pressing  against 
Rawa-Ruska,  Magierow,  and  Janov;  Boehm-Ermolli  against 
Grodek,  part  of  which  he  captured  by  a  midnight  assault  on 
June  16.  In  five  weeks  the  Russian  line  or  front  in  Galicia  had 
shrunk  from  300  miles  to  about  100.  Before  Dunajec,  when  it 
was  united  with  the  northern  groups,  it  had  represented  the  long- 
est battle  line  in  the  history  of  the  world. 

The  Russians  began  to  evacuate  Lemberg  about  June  17,  1915, 
the  day  Von  Mackensen's  right  entered  Javorov.  On  the  19th  his 
advance  guard  was  approaching  Rawa-Ruska.  Boehm-Ermolli 
was  meanwhile  undergoing  severe  punishment  near  Komarno, 
where  an  Austrian  advance  force  endeavored  to  get  through  the 


Grodek  Lakes.  The  Russian  artillery  drove  them  back ;  for  three 
days  there  were  furious  bayonet  and  cavalry  charges  and  counter- 
charges; despite  the  most  terrific  bombardments  the  Austrian 
attacks  were  broken  by  the  desperate  Russians.  On  this  occa- 
sion, at  least,  the  Russians  were  well  supplied  with  shells  hur- 
riedly sent  by  rail  from  Kiev,  which  enabled  them  to  repulse  the 
Austrians  on  the  lakes.  Boehm-Ermolli  is  said  to  have  lost  half 
of  his  effectives  in  his  attempt  to  penetrate  through  Grodek  and 
Dornfeld,  fifteen  miles  south  of  Lemberg. 

Von  Mackensen  again  came  to  the  rescue  by  making  a  great 
turning  movement  in  the  district  of  Zolkiev,  about  sixteen  miles 
north  of  Lemberg,  and  attacking  the  Russian  positions  about 
Janov,  forcing  the  Russians  over  the  hills  and  the  Rawa-Ruska 
railway  to  Zolkiev.  His  left  wing,  resting  on  Lubaczov,  swung 
northward  in  a  wheeling  movement  to  envelop  Rawa-Ruska.  But 
the  Russians  intercepted  the  move;  ferocious  encounters  and 
Cossack  charges  threw  the  Germans  back  to  their  pivot  with 
heavy  losses  on  both  sides.  Von  Mackensen's  center,  however, 
was  too  strong,  and  Ivanoff  desired  no  pitched  battle — ^the  only 
way  to  check  its  advance.  He  therefore  fell  back  between  Rawa- 
Ruska  and  Lemberg,  yielding  the  former  to  Von  Mackensen  and 
the  latter  to  Boehm-Ermolli,  who  was  able  to  lead  his  battered 
troops  into  the  town  on  June  22,  1915,  without  further  resistance. 
Brussilov  now  had  to  withdraw  from  the  Dniester.  As  at 
Przemysl,  the  Russian  garrison  departed  with  all  stores  and 
baggage  before  the  victors  arrived.  Lemberg  had  been  in  Rus- 
sian possession  for  293  days. 

A  German  attack  near  Rawa-Ruska  was  repulsed  by  the  Rus- 
sians on  June  25,  1915.  For  two  days  the  "phalanx"  rested  to 
replenish  its  stock  of  shells;  when  these  had  arrived  along  the 
Przemysl  line.  Von  Mackensen  turned  northward  in  the  direction 
of  Kholm  on  the  Lublin-Brest-Litovsk  railway.  On  his  left 
marched  the  Austro-Hungarian  army  of  the  Archduke  Joseph 
Ferdinand.  These  two  armies  drop  out  of  the  Galician  cam- 
paign at  this  stage  and  become  part  of  the  great  German  offen- 
sive against  the  Polish  salient.  The  gigantic  enveloping  move- 
ment had  failed  in  the  south ;  it  was  now  to  be  a^^empted  against 

812  THE   STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  Russian  line  in  front  of  Warsaw,  conducted  by  Von  Hinden- 
burg  and  Von  Gallwitz  in  the  northern  sector,  and  by  Von  Mac- 
kensen,  assisted  by  General  Woyrsch  and  Archduke  Joseph 
Ferdinand,  in  the  southern.  These  operations  are  described  in 
the  pages  following. 

More  than  three-fourths  of  Galicia  had  now  been  reconquered, 
and  it  was  left  to  the  Austrians  and  the  Germans  to  complete  the 
conquest.  The  campaign  was  one  of  the  greatest  operations  of 
the  war.  An  English  military  writer  thus  describes  the  achieve- 
ment: "Only  a  most  magnificent  army  organization  and  a  most 
careful  preparation,  extending  to  infinite  detail,  could  execute  a 
plan  of  such  magnitude  at  the  speed  at  which  it  was  done  by  the 
Austrian  and  German  armies  in  May,  1915." 

Not  yet,  however,  were  the  Russian  armies  destroyed;  to  the 
German  War  Staff  it  was  not  now  a  question  of  taking  or  retak- 
ing territory,  but  of  striking  a  final  and  decisive  blow  at  the 
vitals  of  Russia.  The  continuous  series  of  reverses  suffered  by 
Boehm-Ermolli  and  Von  Linsingen  exerted  an  important  effect  on 
the  end  of  the  Galician  campaign :  it  frustrated  the  plan  of  elim- 
inating the  Russian  forces.  The  battle  lines  in  France  and  Flan- 
ders could  wait  a  while  till  the  Russian  power  was  annihilated. 

After  the  fall  of  Lemberg,  Ivanoff  withdrew  the  main  body  of 
his  troops  toward  the  river  line  of  the  Bug,  Boehm-Ermolli  fol- 
lowing up  behind.  Again  that  unfortunate  general  was  roughly 
handled — another  of  his  divisions  was  annihilated  southeast  of 
Lemberg  in  a  rear-guard  action.  Von  Linsingen  directed  his 
efforts  against  the  Gnila  Lipa  and  Halicz,  while  Von  Pflanzer- 
Baltin  still  operated  on  the  Dniester.  For  many  months  the 
Russians  and  Austrians  faced  each  other  in  eastern  Galicia; 
they  were  still  skirmishing  at  the  end  of  the  year.  Both  Russia 
and  Austria  had  more  important  matters  on  hand  elsewhere :  the 
former  against  Germany  in  the  north,  and  the  latter  with  her 
new  enemy — Italy.    Galicia  became  a  side  issue. 

The  Galician  campaign  will  rank  as  one  of  the  most  instructive 
episodes  in  military  history,  an  example  of  unparalleled  calcula- 
tion, scientific  strategy,  and  admirable  heroism,  involving,  it  is 
computed,  the  terrible  sacrifice  of  at  least  a  million  human  lives. 




THE  battle  known  in  the  German  official  accounts  as  the 
"Winter  Battle  in  Mazurian  Land"  is  sometimes  described 
as  the  "Nine  Days*  Battle."  In  this  sense  it  is  to  be  considered 
as  beginning  on  the  7th  of  February,  1915,  and  ending  on  the 
16th,  when  the  German  Great  Headquarters  reported  that  the 
Tenth  Russian  Army,  consisting  of  at  least  eleven  infantry  and 
several  cavalry  divisions,  had  been  driven  out  of  its  strongly 
fortified  positions  to  the  east  of  the  Mazurian  Lake  district, 
forced  across  the  border,  and,  having  been  almost  completely 
surrounded,  had  been  crushingly  defeated.  In  fact,  however, 
fighting  continued  as  part  of  the  same  action  until  the  21st  of 
February,  1915,  when  the  pursuit  of  the  defeated  army  ended. 
The  forces  engaged  in  this  titanic  conflict  were  the  Russian 
Tenth  Army,  consisting,  according  to  the  Russian  version,  of 
four  corps,  under  General  Baron  Sievers,  and  the  German  East 
Prussian  armies,  under  General  von  Eichhorn,  operating  on  the 
north  on  the  line  Insterburg-Lotzen,  and  General  von  Billow  on 
the  line  Lotzen-Johannisburg  to  the  south  of  Von  Eichhorn. 
Sources  favorable  to  the  Allies  represent  the  strength  of  Gen- 
eral Sievers's  army  as  120,000  men.  They  assert  that  the  total 
German  force  consisted  of  nine  corps,  over  300,000  men.  Thes* 
are  said  to  have  included  the  Twenty-first  Corps,  which  had  been 
with  the  Crown  Prince  of  Bavaria  in  the  west;  three  reserve 
corps,  also  from  the  west ;  the  Thirty-eighth  and  Fortieth  Corps, 

314  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

new  formations,  from  the  interior  of  Germany;  the  equivalent 
of  three  corps  from  other  sections  of  the  eastern  front;  and  a 
reserve  corps  of  the  Guard.  The  German  official  description  of 
the  battle  credits  the  Russians  with  having  had  in  this  sector 
of  the  battle  front  in  East  Prussia  at  the  beginning  of  February 
six  to  eight  army  corps,  or  about  200,000  men. 

For  months  the  heavy  fighting  in  the  east  had  centered  on 
other  sections  of  the  immense  battle  line,  running  from  the 
Baltic  to  the  Carpathians.  The  second  general  Russian  offen- 
sive, the  great  forward  thrust  of  the  Grand  Duke  Nicholas 
toward  Cracow  in  the  direction  of  Berlin,  aimed  through  the 
center  of  the  German  defense,  had  been  met,  and  the  German 
counterthrust  toward  Warsaw  had  come  to  a  standstill  in  the 
mud  of  Poland  and  before  the  stone-wall  defensive  of  the  Rus- 
sians on  the  Bsura  and  the  Rawka.  Attacks  launched  by  the 
Russians  against  the  East  Prussian  frontier,  centering  at  Lyck, 
in  January,  1915,  seemed  to  forebode  a  fresh  Russian  offensive 
intended  to  sweep  back  the  German  armies  in  this  section  whose 
position  on  the  Russian  right  wing  was  a  continual  threat  to  the 
communications  of  the  Russian  commander  in  chief. 

The  Germans,  disposing  of  comparatively  weak  forces,  esti- 
mated at  three  army  corps,  were  compelled  to  yield  a  strip  of 
East  Prussian  territory,  and  had  fallen  back  to  positions  of  con- 
siderable natural  strength  formed  by  the  chain  of  Mazurian 
Lakes  and  the  line  of  the  Angerapp  River.  They  reported  their 
forces  standing  on  the  defensive  here  as  50  per  cent  Landwehr, 
25  per  cent  Landsturm,  and  only  25  per  cent  other  troops  not 
of  the  reserve.  Repeated  attempts  of  the  Russians  to  gain  pos- 
session of  these  fortified  positions  had,  however,  broken  down. 
They  had  been  directed  especially  against  the  bridgehead  o^ 
Darkehmen  and  the  right  wing  of  the  German  forces  in  th<J 
Paprodtk  Hills.  Wading  up  to  their  shoulders  in  icy  water,  the 
hardy  troops  of  the  Third  Siberian  Corps  had  attempted  in  vain 
to  cross  the  Nietlitz  Swamp,  between  the  lakes  to  the  east  of 

At  the  beginning  of  February,  1915,  finally  Von  Hindenburg 
had  been  able  to  obtain  fresh  German  forces  and  to  put  them 


in  position  for  an  encircling  movement  against  the  Russians 
lying  just  to  the  east  of  the  lakes,  from  near  Tilsit  to  Johannis- 
burg.  With  the  greatest  secrecy  the  reenforcements,  hidden 
from  observation  by  their  fortified  positions,  and  the  border 
forces  maintaining  the  defense,  were  gathered  behind  the  two 
German  wings.  The  Russians  apparently  gained  an  inkling  of 
the  big  move  that  was  impending  about  the  time  the  advance 
against  their  wings  was  under  way.  The  first  news  of  the  open- 
ing of  the  battle  came  to  the  public  in  a  Russian  ofl[icial  announce- 
ment of  the  9th  of  February,  1915,  to  the  effect  that  on  the  7th 
the  Germans  had  undertaken  the  offensive  with  considerable 
force  in  the  Goldap-Johannisburg  sector.  The  northern  group 
of  Germans  began  its  movement  somewhat  later  from  the  direc- 
tion of  Tilsit. 

Extensive  preparations  had  been  made  by  the  German  leaders 
to  meet  the  difficulties  of  a  winter  campaign  under  unfavorable 
weather  conditions.  Thousands  of  sleighs  and  hundreds  of  thou- 
sands of  sleigh  runners  (on  which  to  drag  cannon  and  wagons), 
held  in  readiness,  were  a  part  of  these  preparations  for  a  rapid 
advance.  Deep  snow  covered  the  plain,  and  the  lakes  were 
thickly  covered  with  ice.  On  the  5th  of  February,  1915,  a 
fresh  snowstorm  set  in,  accompanied  by  an  icy  wind,  which 
heaped  the  snow  in  deep  drifts  and  made  tremendously  difficult 
travel  on  the  roads  and  railways,  completely  shutting  off  motor 

The  Germans  on  the  south,  in  order  to  come  into  contact  with 
the  main  Russian  forces,  had  to  cross  the  Johannisburg  Forest 
and  the  Pisseck  River,  which  flows  out  of  the  southernmost  of 
the  chain  of  lakes.  The  attacking  columns  made  their  way 
through  the  snow-clad  forests  with  all  possible  speed,  forcing 
their  way  through  barriers  o;f  felled  trees  and  driving  the  Rus- 
sians from  the  river  crossings. 

Throughout  the  8th  of  February,  1915,  the  marching  columns 
moved  through  whirling  snow  clouds,  the  Germans  driving  their 
men  forward  relentlessly,  so  that,  in  spite  of  the  drifted  snow 
which  filled  the  roads,  certain  troops  covered  on  this  day  a  dis- 
tance of  forty  kilometers.  The  Germans  under  General  von 

316  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Falck  took  Snopken  by  storm;  those  under  General  von  Litz- 
mann  crossed  the  Pisseck  near  Wrob^ln.  The  immediate  objec- 
tives of  these  columns  were  Johannisburg  and  Biala,  where 
strong  Russian  forces  were  posted. 

On  the  9th  the  southern  column,  under  Von  Litzmann,  was 
attacked  on  its  right  flank  by  Russians  coming  from  Kolna,  ta 
the  south  of  them.  The  German  troops  repelled  the  attack, 
taking  2,500  prisoners,  eight  cannon,  and  twelve  machine  guns. 
General  Saleck  took  Johannisburg,  and  Biala  was  cleared  of  the? 
Russians.  The  advance  of  these  southern  columns  continued 
rapidly  toward  Lyck. 

The  German  left  wing  at  the  same  time  fell  overwhelmingly 
on  the  northern  end  of  the  Russian  line.  On  the  9th  they  took 
the  fortified  Russian  positions  stretching  from  Spullen  to  the 
Schorell  Forest  and  nearly  to  the  Russian  border.  They  had 
here  hard  work  to  force  their  way  through  wire  entanglements 
of  great  strength.  Having  noticed  signs  of  a  retreat  on  the  part 
of  their  opponents,  these  German  forces  had  on  the  preceding 
day  begun  the  attack  without  waiting  for  the  whole  of  their 
artillery  to  come  up.  The  Russians  retreated  toward  the 

Swinging  forward  toward  the  Russian  border,  the  German 
left  wing  now  exerted  itself  to  the  utmost  to  execute  the  sweep- 
ing encircling  movement  for  which  the  strategy  of  Von  Hinden- 
burg  had  become  famous.  The  Russian  right  wing  had  been 
turned  and  was  being  pressed  continually  toward  the  southeast. 
The  German  troops  rushed  forward  in  forced  marches,  ignoring 
the  difficulties  which  nature  put  in  their  way.  By  the  10th  of 
February  these  columns  reached  the  Pillkallen-Wladislavrow  line, 
and  by  the  11th  the  main  highway  from  Gumbinnen  to  Wilko- 
wyszki.  The  right  wing,  up  to  the  capture  of  Stallupohnen,  had 
taken  some  4,000  prisoners,  four  machine  guns,  and  eleven  am- 
munition wagons.  The  center  of  this  army,  at  the  capture  of 
Eydtkuhnen,  Wirballen,  and  Kibarty,  took  10,000  prisoners,  six 
cannon,  eight  machine  guns,  numerous  baggage  wagons,  includ- 
ing eighty  field  kitchens,  three  military  trains  and  other  roll- 
ing stock,  a  large  number  of  gift  packages  intended  for  the 


Russian  troops,  and,  of  chief  interest  to  the  fighting  men,  a  whole 
day's  provisions. 

On  the  afternoon  of  February  10  some  one  and  a  half  Rus- 
sian divisions  had  come  to  a  halt  in  these  three  neighboring 
villages :  Eydtkuhnen,  Kibarty,  and  Wirballen.  Although  it  was 
known  that  the  Germans  were  approaching,  it  was  apparently 
regarded  by  the  Russians  as  impossible  that  pursuers  would 
be  able  to  come  up  with  them  in  the  raging  snowstorm.  So  cer- 
tain were  they  of  their  security  that  no  outposts  were  put  on 
guard.  Only  thus  could  it  happen  that  the  Germans,  who  had 
not  allowed  the  forces  of  nature  to  stop  their  advance,  arrived 
right  at  the  Russian  position  on  the  same  day,  though  with 
infantry  alone  and  merely  a  few  guns,  everything  else  having 
been  left  behind,  stuck  in  the  snowdrifts. 



TT  was  evening  when  the  Germans  made  their  surprise  attack 
•^  on  Eydtkuhnen  and  midnight  when  they  fell  upon  Wirballen. 
On  the  roadway  stood  two  Russian  batteries  with  twelve  guns 
and  a  considerable  number  of  ammunition  wagons.  The  Ger- 
man infantry  approached  without  firing  a  shot  until  they  were 
within  fifty  yards.  Then  all  the  horses  were  shot  down  and  the 
guns  and  ammunition  seized.  The  men  of  the  battery  fled.  In 
both  these  towns  there  was  street  fighting  in  the  night,  lit  up 
by  burning  houses  which  had  been  fired  by  the  Russians  in  their 

One  of  the  captured  trains  was  the  hospital  train  of  the  czar. 
This  was  utilized  as  headquarters  for  the  night  by  the  staff  of 
General  von  Lauenstein. 

By  the  12th  of  February,  1915,  the  German  troops  of  the  left 
wing,  sweeping  down  from  the  north  and  pressing  the  Russians 
back  from  village  to  village,  were  entirely  on  Russian  soil.    Wiz- 

818  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

winy,  Kalwarja,  and  Mariampol  were  occupied  on  this  day.  The 
number  of  guns  taken  by  these  troops  had  been  increased  by 
seventeen,  according  to  German  reports.  The  German  Head- 
quarters Staff  declared  that  by  this  time  the  Russian  Seventy- 
third  and  Fifty-sixth  Divisions  had  been  as  good  as  annihilated, 
and  the  Twenty-seventh  division  nearly  destroyed.  The  Russians 
lying  before  the  Angerapp  line  and  the  defenses  of  Lotzen  had  in 
the  meantime  also  begun  to  retreat  toward  the  east.  German 
troops,  consisting  chiefly  of  reserves  of  the  Landwehr  and  Land- 
sturm  which  up  to  this  time  had  been  held  back  within  the  Ger- 
man fortified  line,  now  advanced  to  attack  the  yielding  army, 
whose  long  marching  column  could  be  observed  by  the  German 
flyers.  While  General  von  Eichhom's  troops,  coming  from  the 
neighborhood  of  Tilsit  and  making  their  way  through  snow  and 
ice,  were  advancing  upon  Suwalki  and  Sejny,  and  the  German  right 
wing  was  fighting  its  way  through  Grajewo,  toward  Augustowo, 
the  center  of  the  troops  of  General  von  Billow  for  several  days 
fought  the  Russians  in  furious  battle  in  the  vicinity  of  Lyck. 
From  all  sides  the  Germans  were  closing  in.  To  protect  the 
withdrawal  of  this  main  army  to  Suwalki  and  Augustowo,  the 
Russians  endeavored  by  all  means  to  hold  the  narrows  of  the 
lakes  before  Lyck,  where  they  were  favored  by  the  nature  of 
the  ground  and  aided  by  strong  defensive  works,  for  the  most 
part  well  provided  with  wire  entanglements.  The  best  of  the 
Russian  troops,  Siberian  regiments,  here  fought  with  great 
energy  under  a  determined  leadership,  and  the  Russians,  in  f  act> 
at  some  places  took  the  offensive.  By  the  12th  of  February, 
1915,  however,  the  Germans  had  taken  these  positions  and  the 
Russians  had  withdrawn  to  the  narrow  passages  among  the  lakes 
before  Lyck.  The  battles  around  this  town  were  carried  on 
under  the  eye  of  the  German  Emperor.  The  German  soldiers 
were  still  occupied  in  hunting  through  the  houses  for  scattered 
Russians  as  the  emperor  stepped  from  his  motor  car.  He  was 
received  with  hurrahs,  and  the  soldiers  surrounded  him,  singing 
"Deutschland,  Deutschland  uber  Alles."  The  emperor,  standing 
amid  the  blackened  ruins  of  burned  homes,  delivered  a  short 
address  to  the  soldiers  gathered  about  him,  giving  special  recog* 


nition  to  Infantry  Regiment  No.  33,  an  East  Prussian  unit 
which  had  especially  distinguished  itself  and  suffered  great 
losses.  On  the  same  day  the  Germans  advanced  beyond  Lyck, 
and  by  the  15th  of  February  no  Russian  remained  on  Ger- 
man soil. 



THE  Russian  right,  retiring  to  avoid  envelopment,  sought  the 
natural  line  of  retreat  along  the  railway  to  Kovno.  In  exe- 
cuting this  movement  it  turned  toward  the  northeast,  and  ex- 
ceeding in  speed  of  movement  the  corps  to  the  south  of  it,  the 
Twentieth,  under  the  command  of  General  Bulgakov,  the  latter 
was  left  out  of  the  line.  In  consequence  its  right  wing  was 
turned  and  it  was  pressed  down  toward  the  south  with  the  enemy 
on  three  sides  of  it.  It  speedily  became  a  broken  force  in  the 
forest  north  of  Suwalki.  The  Russians  endeavored  to  reach 
the  protection  of  their  great  fortress  of  Grodno.  It  was  the 
task  of  the  German  division  coming  down  from  the  north  in 
forced  marches  to  cut  off  this  way  of  escape  and  prevent  the 
Russians  coming  out  of  the  forest  toward  the  southeast. 

The  march  of  these  German  troops  carried  them  through 
great  woodlands,  amid  frozen  lakes,  when  suddenly  a  thaw  set 
in.  The  sleighs  which  had  been  used  had  to  be  abandoned  and 
wagons  requisitioned  on  the  spot  wherever  possible. 

An  officer  with  these  troops  relates  that  infantrymen  were 
sent  forward  on  wagons,  and  on  the  night  following  the  15th 
of  February  took  Sopozkin,  to  the  east  of  Augustowo,  on  the  line 
of  the  Russian  retreat,  capturing  the  baggage  of  an  entire  Rus- 
sian army  corps.  *The  morning,"  he  writes,  "presented  to  us 
a  unique  picture.  Hundreds  of  vehicles,  baggage  carts,  machine 
guns,  ammunition,  provision  and  ambulance  wagons  stood  in 
a  vast  disorder  in  the  market  place  of  the  town  and  in  the  street, 

21— -War  St.  3 

320  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

In  between  were  hundreds  of  horses,  some  harnessed,  some  loose, 
dead  Russians,  dead  horses,  bellowing  cattle,  and  sounding  over 
it  all  the  words  of  command  of  our  troops  endeavoring  to  create 
order  in  this  mad  mix-up,  and  to  take  care  of  the  rich  booty. 
Many  an  interesting  find  did  we  make — 'mementos'  which  the 
Russians  had  taken  with  them  from  Prussia  and  which  now  were 
to  find  their  way  back." 

A  German  commander  tells  how,  in  their  efforts  to  cut  off 
the  Russian  retreat,  the  artillery  were  compelled  to  cross  many 
brooks  running  through  deep  gullies,  so  that  it  was  necessary 
frequently  to  lower  guns  and  wagons  by  means  of  ropes  on  one 
side  and  pull  them  up  on  the  other. 

One  of  the  German  leaders,  describing  this  encircling  move- 
ment to  the  southeast  from  the  north  in  which  he  played  a  part, 
says :  "The  roads  and  the  weather  were  beyond  all  description — • 
twelve  to  fifteen  degrees  Reaumur,  with  a  cutting  wind  and  driv* 
ing  snow,  with  nothing  to  eat,  as  the  field  kitchens  on  these 
roads  could  not  follow.  During  pauses  in  the  march  one  could 
but  lean  against  the  wall  of  a  miserable  house  or  lie  down  in  the 
burned-out  ruins,  without  straw  to  lie  on  and  no  covering.  Men 
and  horses  sank  to  their  hips  in  the  snow,  and  so  we  worked 
our  way  forward,  usually  only  about  two  kilometers  an  hour. 
Wagons  and  horses  that  upset  had  to  be  shoveled  out  of  the 
drifts.  It  was  a  terrible  sight,  but  we  got  through.  We  had 
to  go  on  without  regard  for  anything,  and  the  example  of  the 
higher  officers  did  much.'* 

Two  Russian  corps  from  the  southern  wing  of  the  army  re- 
treating by  the  Suwalki-Sejny  causeway  and  by  the  Ossowetz 
Railway,  according  to  accounts  from  Russian  sources,  made  their 
way  out  of  the  trap  under  heavy  rear-guard  fighting. 

The  escaped  portions  of  the  Russian  army  crossed  the  Bobr 
toward  Grodno.  From  the  direction  of  this  Russian  stronghold 
a  desperate  effort  was  made  to  relieve  the  four  corps  which 
were  endeavoring  to  escape  toward  the  fortress  from  the  forest 
southeast  of  Augustowo  into  which  they  liad  been  pressed  by 
the  Germans  from  the  west  and  north.  On  the  21st  of  February 
came  the  final  act  in  the  great  drama.     The  German  troops 


pushed  forward  at  their  best  speed  from  all  directions  toward 
the  forest.  The  help  that  had  been  intended  for  them  came  too 
late.  Concerning  the  captures  of  this  day,  the  German  Great 
Headquarters  reported:  **0n  the  21st  of  February  the  remnants 
of  the  Tenth  Army  laid  down  their  arms  in  the  forest  of  Angus* 
towo  after  all  attempts  of  the  Russian  commander  of  this  army, 
General  Sievers,  to  cut  a  way  out  for  the  encircled  four  divisions 
by  means  of  those  parts  of  his  army  which  remained  to  him 
after  escaping  over  the  Bobr  to  Grodno  failed  with  extremely 
heavy  losses." 

Summarizing  the  results  of  the  entire  battle  in  an  announce- 
ment of  the  22d  of  February,  the  German  Great  Headquarters 
said :  "The  pursuit  after  the  winter  battle  in  Mazurian  Land  is 
ended.  In  cleaning  up  the  forests  to  the  northwest  of  Grodno, 
and  in  the  battles  reported  during  the  last  few  days  in  the  region 
of  the  Bobr  and  the  Narew,  there  have  been  captured  to  date 
one  commanding  general,  two  division  commanders,  four  other 
generals,  and  in  the  neighborhood  of  40,000  men,  seventy-five 
cannon,  a  quantity  of  machine  guns,  whose  number  is  not  yet 
determined,  and  much  other  war  material. 

"The  total  booty  of  the  winter  battle  in  Mazurian  Land,  there- 
fore, up  to  to-day  rises  to  seven  generals,  more  than  100,000  men, 
more  than  150  cannon,  and  material  of  all  sorts,  inclusive  of 
machine  guns,  which  cannot  yet  be  approximately  estimated. 
Heavy  guns  and  ammunition  were  in  many  cases  buried  by  the 
enemy  or  sunk  in  the  lakes ;  thus  eight  heavy  guns  were  yester- 
day dug  out  or  hauled  out  of  the  water  near  Lotzen  and  Lake 

"The  Tenth  Russian  Army  of  General  Baron  Sievers  may, 
therefore,  now  be  considered  as  completely  annihilated." 

This  summary  was  corrected  in  a  later  announcement,  which 
stated  that  the  number  of  guns  taken  as  booty  in  the  pursuit 
after  the  winter  battle  in  Mazurian  Land  had  risen  to  300, 
including  eighteen  heavy  guns.  This  was  published  on  the  23d 
of  February.  In  an  announcement  of  the  26th  of  February  the 
Great  Headquarters  amplified  its  account  of  the  victory  with  this 
statement : 

322  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

"In  the  Russian  official  report  the  extent  of  the  disaster  in 
the  winter  battle  of  Mazurian  Land  is  either  concealed  or  an 
attempt  is  made  to  obscure  it.  It  is  unnecessary  to  go  further 
into  these  denials.  As  evidence  of  the  extent  of  the  defeat, 
the  following  list  of  the  positions  held  by  the  captured  generals, 
however,  may  serve ; 

"Of  the  Twentieth  Army  Corps:  the  commanding  general, 
the  commander  of  the  artillery,  the  commander  of  the  Twenty- 
eighth  and  Twenty-ninth  Infantry  Divisions,  and  of  the  First 
Brigade  of  Infantry  of  the  Twenty-ninth  Infantry  Division.  The 
commander  of  this  latter  division  succumbed  to  his  wounds  soon 
after  being  made  prisoner. 

"Of  the  Third  Army  Corps:  the  commander  of  the  Twenty- 
seventh  Infantry  Division  and  the  commander  of  the  artillery 
and  of  the  Second  Infantry  Brigade  of  this  division. 

"Of  the  Fifty-third  Reserve  Division :  the  division  commander 
and  the  commander  of  the  First  Infantry  Brigade. 

"Of  the  First  Siberian  Cossack  Division:  a  brigade  com- 

This  brought  the  total  of  Russian  generals  captured  up  to 

This  account  of  one  of  the  greatest  battles  of  the  European 
War  is  necessarily  based  to  a  large  extent  on  reports  of  the 
Germans,  owing  to  the  fact  that  material  from  this  source  is 
virtually  the  only  official  account  available  of  the  operation  as 
a  whole.  The  Russian  General  Staff  has  contented  itself  with 
the  following  announcement,  made  public  on  February  21,  1915 : 
"When  the  Germans,  after  a  series  of  extraordinary  obstinate 
and  persistent  attacks  which  caused  them  heavy  losses,  had  rec- 
ognized the  impossibility  of  pressing  in  our  front  on  the  left 
bank  of  the  Vistula,  they  turned  at  the  end  of  January  to  the 
execution  of  a  new  plan.  After  the  creation  of  several  new  corps 
in  the  interior  of  the  country,  and  the  bringing  up  of  troops 
from  their  west  front,  the  Germans  threw  important  forces  into 
East  Prussia.  The  transportation  of  troops  was  made  easier 
by  the  extraordinarily  developed  net  of  railways  which  Germany 
has  at  its  disposal. 


'The  task  of  the  new  troops  sent  to  East  Prussia  was  to  de- 
feat our  Tenth  Army,  which  held  strongly  constructed  positions 
along  the  Angerapp.  To  assure  the  success  of  the  undertaking 
the  Germans  brought  a  portion  of  their  forces  from  the  Bzura 
and  Rawka  fronts  to  the  right  bank  of  the  Vistula.  A  movement 
of  the  Germans  in  East  Prussia  already  became  noticeable  on  the 
4th  of  February,  1915.  But  the  extent  of  this  movement  could 
only  be  recognized  a  few  days  later.  As  our  leaders,  because  of 
the  lack  of  railroad  lines,  could  not  collect  the  necessary  forces 
on  the  East  Prussian  front  with  the  necessary  speed  to  meet  the 
hostile  attack  adequately,  they  decided  to  take  back  the  above- 
mentioned  army  of  East  Prussia  to  the  border.  In  this  move- 
ment of  the  right  wing  the  Tenth  Army,  which  was  pressed  by 
heavy  hostile  forces  and  threatened  with  being  surrounded  from 
the  right,  was  forced  to  make  a  rapid  change  of  alignment  in  the 
direction  of  Kovno.  In  this  rapid  movement  a  corps  was 
separated  from  the  rest  of  the  army.  The  other  corps  which  con- 
tinued the  battle  obstinately  without  interruption,  slowly  drew 
back  in  the  prescribed  direction,  bravely  repelling  the  enemy  and 
inflicting  upon  him  heavy  losses.  Our  troops  overcame  un- 
believable difficulties,  which  were  caused  by  the  snow  which  filled 
all  roads.  As  the  streets  were  impassable,  automobiles  could  not 
run.  Trains  were  delayed  and  frequently  failed  to  arrive  at 
their  destination.  Our  corps  which  formed  the  left  wing  of  the 
Tenth  Army  held  the  enemy,  while  drawing  back  step  for 
step  for  nine  days  on  a  stretch  of  territory  which  ordinarily 
is  covered  in  four  days.  On  the  19th  of  February  these  corps 
withdrawing  by  way  of  Augustowo  left  the  battle  field  and 
took  the  position  assigned  to  them.  Further  battles  devel- 
oped in  the  region  before  Ossowetz,  on  the  roads  from 
Lomza  to  Jedwabno  and  to  the  north  of  Radislow,  also  halfway 
between  Plozk  and  Plonsk.  These  battles  were  in  places  very 

An  English  authority  says:  "The  chief  Russian  loss  was  in 
General  Bulgakov's  Twentieth  Corps,  which  the  German  staff 
asserted  they  had  completely  destroyed.  But  during  the  fort- 
night which  ended  on  Saturday  the  20th,  at  least  half  of  that 

324  THE   STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

corps  and  more  than  two-thirds  of  its  guns  safely  made  their 
way  through  the  Augustowo  and  Suwalki  woods  to  the  position 
which  had  been  prepared  for  the  Russian  defense.  The  total 
Russian  losses  may  have  been  80  guns  and  30,000  men ;  they  were 
no  more.  The  two  southern  corps,  in  spite  of  their  stubborn 
action  at  Lyck,  crossed  the  woods  between  Augustowo  and 
Ossowetz  without  serious  disaster." 



THE  shattering  of  the  Tenth  Russian  Army  in  the  "winter 
battle"  of  the  Mazurian  Lakes  was  part  of  a  greater  conflict 
which  in  February,  1915,  extended  far  down  the  armies  on  the 
right  flank  of  the  great  Russian  battle  line  which  ran  from  the 
Baltic  to  the  Dniester.  A  "new  gigantic  plan"  of  the  Slavs  was 
involved.  As  interpreted  by  the  German  General  Staff  it  meant 
that  while  the  extreme  northern  wing  of  the  Russian  armies  was 
to  sweep  westward  through  the  projecting  section  of  Germany, 
East  Prussia,  along  the  Baltic  another  Russian  army  was  to 
advance  in  force  from  the  south  against  the  comer  formed  by 
West  Prussia  and  the  Vistula.  With  vast  masses  of  cavalry  in 
the  van,  it  was  to  break  through  the  boundary  between  Mlawa 
and  Thorn,  and  pushing  northward,  come  into  the  rear  of  those 
German  forces  which  were  facing  eastward  against  the  attack 
aimed  at  East  Prussia  from  the  northeast.  For  operations  in 
this  section  the  Russians  had  favorable  railway  connections. 
Two  railways  terminating  at  Ostrolenka  permitted  the  rapid 
unloading  of  large  masses  of  troops  at  this  point,  and  the  line 
Warsaw-Mlawa-Soldau  led  straight  into  the  territory  aimed  at  by 
such  an  invasion.  It  seemed  easily  credible  that  the  Russian 
commander  in  chief  did,  as  reported,  give  orders  that  Mlawa 
should  be  taken  be  the  cost  what  it  might. 


The  northern  Russian  armies  based  upon  the  fortresses  of 
Kovno  and  Grodno  on  the  Niemen  had  not  fully  started  on  their 
part  of  this  great,  well-planned  undertaking  when  the  German 
counteroff  ensive  was  suddenly  launched  with  tremendous  strength 
from  the  Tilsit-Insterburg-Mazurian  Lakes  line.  The  disaster 
which  followed,  and  which  banished  all  hope  of  an  advance  of  the 
Russians  on  this  wing,  has  been  described  on  a  preceding  page« 
While  the  Germans,  using  to  the  best  advantage  their  net  of  rail- 
roads for  the  swift  accumulation  of  troops,  had  gathered  large 
forces  on  the  Mazurian  Lakes  line,  they  had  at  the  same  time 
strengthened  the  troops  standing  on  the  southern  boundary  of 
West  and  East  Prussia.  An  artillery  officer.  General  von  Gall- 
witz,  was  placed  in  command  of  this  army  with  orders  to  protect 
the  right  flank  of  the  German  armies  attacking  in  Mazurian 
Land,  and  to  prevent  the  expected  Russian  attempt  at  invasion 
in  his  own  sector  of  the  front. 

While  the  "winter  battle"  was  raging  to  the  east  of  him,  Von 
Gallwitz  in  the  characteristic  German  fashion  of  defense  by  a 
strong  offensive  moved  forward  up  the  right  bank  of  the  Vistula 
to  Piozk.  A  cavalry  division  and  regiments  of  the  Guard  at 
Sierpe  and  Racionz,  February  12-18, 1915,  won  well-earned  laurels 
for  themselves  by  driving  an  enemy  of  superior  strength  before 
them.  At  Dobrin,  according  to  German  report,  they  took  2,500 

General  von  Gallwitz's  plan,  however,  was  of  more  ambitious 
scope.     It  was  his  intention,  by  encircling  the  Russians  in  the 
territory  before  him  from  both  wings,  to  sweep  clear  of  enemies 
the  entire  stretch  of  country  in  the  Polish  triangle  between  the 
Vistula  and  the  Orczy  rivers.    The  right  wing  of  his  troops  that 
lad  come  down  the  bank  of  the  Vistula  was  to  swing  to  the  east- 
ward in  behind  the  Russians.    German  troops  which  had  arrived 
it  Willenberg  inside  of  the  East  Prussian  boundary,  one  of  the 
German  concentration  points  on  the  line  of  railroad  lying  behind 
leir  front,  on  the  other  hand,  received  orders  to  descend  the 
ralley  of  the  Orczy  and  to  come  in  behind  the  Russian  right  flank 
from  the  east.    These  troops,  making  a  wide  detour,  swept  past 
^rzasnysz  on  the  east,  and  swinging  round  to  the  south  of  the 

326  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

city  attacked  the  Russians  holding  the  place  from  this  direction. 
The  Germans  had  understood  that  only  small  Russian  forces 
were  in  the  city.  Anticipating  the  German  movement,  however, 
a  Russian  division,  as  the  Germans  learned  later,  had  hastened 
to  Przasnysz.  The  Russians  also  had  collected  large  forces  on  the 
Narew,  and  were  hurrying  them  toward  Przasnysz  on  roads 
covering  a  wide  front.  Two  full  Russian  corps  from  this  line 
were  flung  upon  the  German  left  wing. 

The  forces  of  Von  Gallwitz  which  had  carried  out  the  en- 
circling movement  from  the  east  and  south  of  Przasnysz  now 
found  themselves  caught  between  two  Russian  armies.  How- 
ever, they  were  unwilling  to  relinquish  the  booty  which  they  had 
planned  to  seize.  A  part  of  the  German  forces  was  disposed  in 
a  half  circle  as  a  defense  against  the  Russians  coming  up  from 
the  south,  and  a  division  of  reserves,  February  24,  stormed 
Przasnysz.  The  German  Great  Headquarters  announced  that 
the  Germans  captured  10,000  prisoners,  including  57  officers,  and 
took  36  cannon,  14  machine  guns,  and  much  war  material  of 
various  sorts.  However,  the  Russian  troops  were  now  pressing 
forward  from  the  south  with  irresistible  force.  The  Germans,  in 
consequence,  slowly  fell  back,  fighting  under  great  difficulties, 
and  moving  northward  toward  their  defensive  lines,  carrying 
with  them  their  prisoners  and  booty. 

The  Russian  General  Staff  on  the  first  of  March,  1915,  devoted 
an  explicit  account  to  the  fighting  about  Przasnysz  which  differs 
but  slightly  from  the  narrative  by  the  German  Great  Head- 
quarters which  has  in  general  been  followed  in  the  preceding 
description.  Both  sides  apparently  considered  the  operation  of 
special  importance,  and  as  reflecting  credit  upon  their  respective 
troops.  The  Russian  story  emphasizes  the  attacks  made  by 
their  force  on  the  line  Lyssakowo-Chainovo  simultaneously  from 
north  and  south,  that  is,  both  in  the  flank  and  in  the  rear  of  the 
Germans  to  the  west  of  Przasnysz.  They  represent  their  troops 
in  the  city  as  having  consisted  of  only  a  brigade  of  infantry  and 
some  insignificant  cavalry  units.  On  the  25th  of  February,  when 
the  Germans  had  established  themselves  in  the  town,  the  Rus- 
sians, according  to  their  account,  were  pressing  their  enemies 




hard  upon  a  long  front  from  Krasnoseltz  through  Vengerzinovo, 
Kolatschkowo  to  Vohaverlowska. 

On  the  evening  of  this  day  they  drove  the  Germans  into  posi- 
tions close  to  the  city.  The  Thirty-sixth  German  Reserve  Divi- 
sion on  the  same  evening  is  said  to  have  met  serious  disaster 
after  a  determined  resistance  at  the  crossings  of  the  Anetz.  On 
the  evening  of  the  next  day  the  Russians  began  to  reenter 
Przasnysz,  but  did  not  completely  occupy  the  town  until  the  night 
after  the  27th.  "The  Germans,"  the  Russian  account  continues, 
''hereupon  began  a  disorderly  retreat,  endeavoring  to  withdraw 
in  the  direction  of  Mlawa-Chorgele.  Regardless  of  the  exhaus- 
tion consequent  upon  the  marching  they  had  undergone  and  four 
days  of  battle,  our  troops  energetically  took  up  the  pursuit  of  the 
enemy.  On  the  28th  of  February  they  inflicted  serious  losses 
upon  his  rear  guard.  In  these  battles  we  seized  a  large  amount 
of  booty.  The  total  number  of  prisoners  amounts  to  at  least 
10,000."  The  Russians  maintain  that  they  had  defeated  no  less 
than  two  German  army  corps  and  thrown  them  back  to  the 

On  the  12th  of  March,  1915,  the  German  Great  Headquarters 
protested  against  this  version  of  the  affair,  and  pointed  to  the 
fact  that  within  a  few  days  their  troops  were  again  threatening 
Przasnysz,  and  that  since  giving  up  the  city  they  had  captured 
on  the  battle  fields  between  the  Vistula  and  the  Orczy  no  less 
than  11,460  Russians. 

The  city  of  Przasnysz  itself  suffered  heavily  in  these  attacks 
and  counterattacks.  For  days  and  nights  it  had  lain  under  bom- 
bardment and  repeatedly  fierce,  hand-to-hand  combats  had  been 
fought  in  its  streets.  Most  of  the  houses  of  the  place  were  left 
mere  heaps  of  smoking  ruins. 

From  the  German  point  of  view  this  offensive  just  north  of 
the  Vistula  which  included  the  temporary  capture  of  Przasnysz 
was  a  success,  especially  in  this,  that  it  had  prevented  the  big 
Russian  forward  movement  against  the  West  Prussian  boundary 
which  the  impending  great  Russian  offensive  had  foreboded.  It 
had  been  impossible  for  the  Russians  seriously  to  endanger  the 
German  flank  in  this  section,  while  the  Germans  had  struck  to 

328  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  east  in  the  "winter  battle/'  and  had  definitely  spoiled  the 
Russian  appetite  for  invasion  from  the  Kovno-Grodno  line. 

As  though  determined  to  avenge  their  defeat  to  the  east 
of  the  lakes,  the  Russians  now  continued  to  direct  a  series 
of  fierce  attacks  in  the  direction  of  Mlawa,  intending  apparently 
to  break  through  the  German  line  of  defense  between  Soldau 
and  Neidenburg.  It  was  said  that  the  Russians  believed  General 
von  Hindenburg  in  person  to  be  in  charge  of  the  German  forces 
in  this  sector.  In  consequence  the  German  troops  for  the  most 
part  were  forced  to  stand  upon  the  defensive.  In  the  beginning 
of  March  the  Russian  attacks  increased  steadily  in  violence. 
They  broke  against  the  German  positions  to  the  east  and  south 
of  Mlawa,  according  to  German  reports,  with  enormous  losses. 
At  Demsk,  to  the  east  of  Mlawa,  long  rows  of  white  stones  mark 
common  graves  of  masses  of  Russians  who  perished  before  the 
German  barbed-wire  entanglements.  The  Germans  point  to  these 
as  dumb  witnesses  of  the  disaster  that  overtook  forty-eight  Rus- 
sian companies  that  assaulted  ten  German  ones.  The  cold 
.weather  at  this  time  had  made  possible  the  swampy  regions  in 
which  the  Orczy  rises,  and  had  enabled  the  Russians  to  approach 
close  to  the  German  line  of  defense. 

The  Russian  attack  at  this  point  in  the  night  of  the  7th  of 
March,  1915,  was  typical  of  the  fighting  on  this  line  in  these 
weeks.  After  a  thousand  shells  from  the  Russian  heavy  guns 
had  descended  upon  and  behind  Demsk,  a  seemingly  ceaseless 
series  of  infantry  attacks  set  in.  They  were  carried  close  up  to 
the  lines  of  wire  of  the  German  defense.  Enough  light,  however, 
was  shed  by  the  searchlights  and  light  balls  shot  from  pistols  to 
enable  the  Germans  to  direct  a  destructive  infantry  and  ma- 
chine-gun fire  on  the  approaching  lines.  Those  of  the  Russians 
who  did  not  fall,  fled  to  the  next  depression  in  the  ground.  There 
they  were  held  by  the  beams  of  the  searchlights  until  daybreak. 
Then  they  surrendered  to  the  German  patrols.  Of  another 
attack  a  few  kilometers  farther  to  the  north,  at  Kapusnik,  the 
Germans  reported  that  after  the  enemy  had  penetrated  into  their 
trenches  and  had  been  driven  out  in  a  desperate  bayonet  fight, 
they  buried  906  Russians  and  164  Germans. 


On  the  8th  of  March,  1915,  General  von  Gallwitz  again  tried 
an  offensive  with  fresh  forces  which  he  had  gathered.  It  was 
thwarted,  however,  on  the  12th,  to  the  north  of  Przasnysz.  The 
Germans  estimated  the  Russian  forces  which  here  were  brought 
up  for  the  counterattack  at  some  ten  army  corps  and  seven  cav- 
alry divisions.  The  Russians  in  advancing  this  time,  instead  of 
directing  their  thrust  at  Mlawa,  pushed  northeastward  of 
Przasnysz  along  the  rivers  Orczy  and  Omulew.  In  this  sector 
the  Germans  counted  from  the  13th  to  the  23d  of  March  forty- 
six  serious  assaults,  twenty-five  in  the  daytime  and  twenty-one 
at  night.  With  special  fury  the  battles  raged  in  the  neighbor- 
hood of  Jednorozez.  This  attempt  to  break  into  Prussia  was 
also  unsuccessful,  and  in  the  last  week  of  March  the  Russian 
attacks  slackened,  quiet  ensuing  for  the  weeiks  following  Easter. 

For  six  weeks  the  armies  had  struggled  back  and  forth  in  this 
bloody  angle,  fighting  in  cold  and  wet,  amid  snow  and  icy  rains. 
The  Germans  asserted  that  in  these  six  weeks  the  troops  of  Gen- 
eral von  Gallwitz  had  captured  43,000  Russians  and  slain  some 
25,000.  They  estimated  the  total  losses  of  the  enemy  in  this 
sector  during  the  period  at  100,000.  Countless  graves  scattered 
about  the  land,  and  the  ruins  of  cities  and  villages  were  left  to 
keep  awake  the  memory  of  some  of  the  fiercest  fighting  of  the 
war  in  the  east. 


FIGHTING     BEFORE     THE      NIEMEN     AND     BOBR  — 

rpHE  winter  battles  of  the  Mazurian  Lakes  had  forced  the 
-*-  armies  at  the  northern  end  of  the  Russian  right  flank 
back  into  their  great  fortresses  Kovno  and  Grodno,  and  behind 
the  line  of  the  Niemen  and  the  Bobr.  A  great  forest  region  lies 
to  the  east  and  north  of  Grodno,  and  between  the  Niemen  and 
the  cities  of  Augustowo  and  Suwalki  which  the  Germans,  after 
their  successful  offensive,  used  as  bases  for  their  operations.  A 

330  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

strip  of  country  including  these  forests,  and  running  parallel  to 
the  Niemen  was  a  sort  of  no-man's  land  in  the  spring  of  1915. 
Movements  of  troops  in  the  heavily  wooded  country  were  difficult 
to  observe,  and  the  conditions  lent  themselves  to  surprise  at- 
tacks. This  resulted  in  a  warfare  of  alternate  thrusts  by  Rus- 
sians and  Germans  aimed  now  at  this  point,  now  at  that,  in  the 
disputed  territory.  Several  actions  during  the  spring  stand  out 
beyond  the  rest  in  importance,  both  because  of  the  numbers  en- 
gaged and  their  effects.  In  what  follows  will  be  described  a 
typical  offensive  movement  in  this  district  undertaken  by  the 
Russians,  and  the  way  it  was  met  by  the  Germans. 

A  new  Russian  Tenth  Army  had  been  organized  by  the  end  of 
February,  1915,  with  Grodno  for  its  base.  General  Sievers,  his 
chief  of  staff,  and  the  general  in  command  of  the  Third  Russian 
Army  Corps  had  been  demoted  from  their  commands,  and  three 
new  army  corps  (Two,  Three,  and  Fifteen)  had  been  brought  to 
Grodno.  The  ranks  of  the  remaining  corps  that  had  suffered 
in  the  "winter  battle"  had  been  filled  up  with  fresh  recruits. 
Hardly  had  the  German  pursuit  in  the  forest  of  Augustowo  come 
to  an  end  when  the  freshly  strengthened  Russians  moved  for- 
ward from  their  defensive  lines  in  a  counterattack.  The  Ger- 
mans had  been  engaged  in  the  task  of  gathering  and  carting 
away  their  enormous  booty  which  lay  scattered  about  the  forest. 
They  now  drew  back  from  in  front  of  the  Russian  fortified  lines 
to  prepare  positions  close  to  Augustowo,  and  on  a  line  running 
roughly  north  and  south  from  this  place,  with  the  forest  in  front 
of  them. 

The  Third  Russian  Army  Corps  advanced  from  Simno  toward 
Lozdsisjo,  their  Second  Army  Corps  from  Grodno  by  way  of 
Kopiewo  and  Sejny  toward  Krasnopol  and  other  Russian  corps 
advanced  through  the  forest  of  Augustowo.  Here  they  soon 
struck  strong  German  resistance,  and  for  several  days  vainly 
attacked  German  fortified  positions. 

On  the  9th  of  March,  1915,  a  German  offensive  began  against 
the  Russian  Third  Corps  which  held  the  right  wing  of  the  ad' 
vancing  army.  When  this  corps  suddenly  found  itself  threatened 
in  the  flank  from  the  north  and  in  danger  of  being  surrounded 

FIGHTING    BEFORE    THE    NIEMEN   AND    BOBR       331 

it  hastily  began  to  retreat  toward  the  east  and  southeast,  leav- 
ing several  hundred  prisoners  and  several  machine  guns  in  the 
hands  of  the  Germans.  This  withdrawal  exposed  the  right  flank 
of  the  adjoining  Second  Army  Corps,  which  by  this  time,  March 
9,  1915,  had  reached  Berzniki  and  Giby.  The  German  attack 
w^as  now  continued  against  this  corps.  It  was  cold  weather,  the 
thermometer  was  considerably  below  the  freezing  point,  and  the 
roads  were  slippery  with  ice,  so  that  dozens  of  horses  fell,  com- 
pletely exhausted,  and  the  infantry  could  march  only  two  or 
three  kilometers  an  hour. 

On  March  9  and  10,  1915,  the  battle  flamed  up  at  Sejny  and 
Berzniki,  the  Russian  corps,  which  had  developed  its  front  to- 
ward the  west,  being  forced  to  swing  about  and  face  the  north, 
whence  the  Germans  were  driving  down  upon  it.  At  Berzniki 
two  Russian  regiments  made  up  entirely  of  young  troops  were, 
according  to  the  German  account,  completely  annihilated,  and 
the  commanders  of  the  regiments  captured.  It  seemed  as  though 
the  leader  of  the  Russian  armies  saw  approaching  a  repetition  of 
the  encircling  movements  that  had  proved  fatal  to  the  Russians 
in  the  Mazurian  "winter  battle,"  for  on  the  10th  of  March  he 
gave  orders  for  the  withdrawal  of  his  entire  army.  The  German 
airmen  on  this  day  reported  the  Russian  columns  on  the  march 
through  the  forest  in  full  retreat  toward  Grodno  all  along  the 
line  from  Giby  to  Sztabiz,  far  to  the  south. 

On  the  11th  of  March,  1915,  the  German  troops  vigorously 
pushed  the  pursuit.  They  occupied  Makarze,  Froncki,  and  Giby. 
On  the  same  night  a  German  cavalry  division  took  Kopciovo  by 
assault.  At  this  place  alone  they  counted  300  dead  Russians, 
and  more  than  5,000  prisoners,  12  machine  guns,  and  3  cannon, 
fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Germans. 

The  threatened  envelopment  of  this  Russian  army  was  typical 
of  the  method  employed  by  the  leaders  under  Von  Hindenburg  in 
local  operations,  as  it  was  of  German  method  in  general  when 
applied  to  operations  extending  over  the  entire  field  of  action.  It 
could  be  applied  with  special  success  where  the  German  informa- 
tion service  was  superior  to  that  of  the  Russians,  as  it  usually  was, 
and  the  movements  of  German  troops  were  facilitated  by  good 

382  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

railway  connections.  In  the  Augustowo  forests,  however,  rapid- 
ity of  movement  had  to  be  achieved  by  the  legs  of  the  German 
soldiers  to  a  large  extent,  and  on  this  they  prided  themselves  not 
a  little.  The  operation  just  described  was  regarded  by  the  Ger- 
man Great  Headquarters  as  being  of  great  significance,  valuable 
for  its  moral  effect  in  establishing  in  the  German  troops  a  sense 
of  superiority,  and  confidence  in  their  leadership,  and  for  its  in- 
fliction of  material  losses  of  considerable  moment  on  the  Russians^ 

The  Russians  likewise  claimed  advantages  from  their  forward 
thrust  from  Grodno.  As  represented  by  the  Russian  General 
Staff  the  withdrawal  of  the  Germans  from  a  front  close  to  the 
line  of  the  fortress  in  the  first  place  was  not  a  voluntary  one,  as  it 
is  pictured  in  the  German  account,  but  was  forced  by  the  strong 
pressure  exerted  by  the  Russian  attacks  following  upon  their 
retreat  after  the  "winter  battle."  Thus  they  report  the  complete 
defeat  of  two  German  army  corps,  resulting  in  the  seizure  by  the 
Russians  of  Height  100.3,  which  they  described  as  dominating 
the  entire  region  of  the  operations  before  Grodno.  "In  this 
battle,"  says  the  Russian  report  of  March  5,  1915,  "we  took  1,000 
prisoners  and  six  cannon  and  a  machine  gun.  Height  100.3  was 
defended  by  the  Twenty-first  Corps,  the  best  of  them  all  which 
lost  during  the  battle  12,000  to  15,000  soldiers,  as  can  be  esti- 
mated from  the  dead  left  behind.  After  the  shattering  of  the 
German  counterattack  at  Height  100.3  the  operations  of  the 
enemy  became  entirely  passive.  We,  on  the  other  hand,  took  vil- 
lage after  village,  and  everywhere  made  prisoners." 

The  fortress  of  Ossowetz  on  the  Bobr  River  proved  incon- 
querable  by  the  42-centimeter  mortars  which  had  worked  such 
terrific  effects  on  the  forts  of  Belgium  and  France.  It  was 
continually  under  German  artillery  fire  through  the  months  of 
February  and  March,  1915,  without  suffering  appreciable  dam- 
age. The  great  mortars  were  brought  up  within  range  of  the 
fortress  with  much  difficulty,  owing  to  the  fact  that  the  place 
is  almost  completely  surrounded  by  swamps.  The  Germans 
apparently  had  counted  seriously  at  first  on  making  a  breach  in 
the  Russian  defensive  lines  at  this  place.  After  persistent  at' 
tempts  to  make  an  impression  on  the  fortress  with  their  heaviest 

FIGHTING    BEFORE    THE    NIEMEN   AND    BOBR       333 

guns  they  were  obliged,  however,  to  content  themselves  with 
keeping  the  garrison  in  check  so  as  to  forestall  offensive  moves. 

A  German  artillery  officer  who  took  part  in  the  bombardment 
relates  that  the  chief  obstacle  to  the  pressing  home  of  an  attack 
were  several  heavily  armored  batteries  which  lay  concealed  out- 
side the  visible  works  of  the  fortress  itself  in  the  broad  strip 
of  swampland  surrounding  it.  These  were  built  deep  into  the 
ground,  protected  by  thick  earthworks,  and  very  effectively 
screened  from  observation.  They  were  a  constant  menace  and 
apparently  could  not  be  destroyed  by  the  German  fire.  Even 
though  the  main  fort  itself  had  been  destroyed  they  would  have 
prevented  the  approach  of  the  enemy's  troops,  for  they  com- 
manded the  only  causeway  leading  through  the  swamps  to  the 
fortress  and  would  have  blown  to  pieces  any  infantry  that  ven- 
tured to  push  along  this  road. 

Furthermore,  even  the  intense  cold  did  not  make  the  swamp 
passable  except  by  the  roadway  because  warm  springs  here 
and  there  prevented  the  ice  from  freezing  sufficiently  strong  to 
bear  the  troops.  The  German  gunners  noted  too  that  their 
shots  fell  practically  without  effect,  plunging  quietly  into  the 
mud  to  a  great  depth  so  that  they  did  not  even  throw  up  earth 
or  mud. 

The  result  was  that  the  42-centimeter  monsters  were  hastily 
withdrawn  after  a  few  trial  shots  and  the  bombardment  was 
continued  with  a  battery  of  28-centimeter  coast  defense  guns, 
an  Austrian  motor  battery,  a  30.5-centimeter  mortar  and  some 
other  heavy  batteries.  The  fire  rose  to  considerable  intensity 
in  the  last  days  of  February  and  the  first  days  of  March. 

On  the  3d  of  March  the  Russians  in  their  official  report 
dwelt  on  the  fierceness  of  the  bombardment  and  its  ineffective- 
ness. On  the  16th  they  reported  that  the  Germans  were  pushing 
several  of  their  batteries  up  into  closer  range,  as  they  had 
recognized  the  uselessness  of  shooting  from  a  greater  distance 
and  on  the  18th  they  stated  that  the  fire  was  falling  off.  On 
the  22d,  finally,  they  reported  that  beginning  with  the  21st  the 
Germans  had  been  withdrawing  their  heavy  batteries.  They 
added  that  a  42-centimeter  mortar  had  been  damaged  by  the  Rus- 

334  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

sian  fire,  and  that  "not  a  single  shot  of  these  mortars  has 
reached  the  fortress,  not  a  redoubt  has  been  penetrated.  The 
superiority  of  the  artillery  fire  evidently  rests  with  us.  The 
German  attack  was  not  only  far  removed  from  placing  the  forti- 
fications of  Ossowetz  in  a  critical  position,  it  did  not  even  suc- 
ceed in  driving  our  infantry  out  of  the  field  works." 

On  the  27th  of  March  there  was  a  resumption  of  the  bombard- 
ment on  a  small  scale  and  another  effort  began  on  April  11 
with  some  heavy  guns,  ending  in  an  attempted  advance  which 
was  repulsed  without  difficulty  by  the  Russians. 



AN  event  in  which  no  great  number  of  troops  were  concerned, 
-  but  which  is  of  importance,  because  of  the  feeling  which  it 
aroused  in  Germany  and  because  it  was  the  first  of  a  series  of 
operations  in  what  was  practically  a  new  theatre  of  the  war  was 
the  Russian  invasion  of  the  very  northernmost  tip  of  East 
Prussia.  On  Thursday,  the  18th  of  March,  1915,  the  Russians 
coming  simultaneously  from  the  north  and  the  east  across  the 
border  of  Courland,  moved  on  the  Prussian  city  of  Memel  in 
several  columns.  Their  troops  included  seven  battalions  of 
militia  with  six  or  eight  guns  of  an  old  model,  several  squadrons 
of  mounted  men,  two  companies  of  marines,  a  battalion  of  a 
reserve  regiment,  and  border  defense  troops  from  Riga  and 
Libau,  a  total  of  some  6,000  to  10,000  men.  The  German  Land- 
sturm  troops  at  the  Prussian  boundary  fell  back  on  Memel,  not 
being  in  sufficient  force  to  resist  the  advance.  They  were  finally 
driven  through  the  city  and  across  the  narrow  strip  of  water 
known  as  the  Kurische  Haff  to  the  dunes  along  the  shore  of  the 
Baltic.  The  Russians  burned  down  numerous  buildings  along 
the  roads  on  which  they  approached,  according  to  the  German 
report,  inflicting  heavy  damage  on  fifteen  villages.    A  consider- 

RUSSIAN    RAID    ON    MEMEL       ^  335 

able  number  of  the  inhabitants,  including  women  and  children, 
were  removed  to  Russia,  and  a  number  of  civilians  were  killed. 
The  troops  entered  the  city  on  the  evening  of  March  18  and  took 
the  mayor  and  three  other  men  of  the  town  as  hostages.  Ap- 
parently the  Russian  commander  made  some  efforts  to  restrain 
his  men,  but  plundering  of  stores  and  dwellings  nevertheless 
occurred.  On  the  20th  of  March,  1915,  the  city  was  for  a  time 
cleared  of  Russian  troops,  but  on  Sunday,  the  21st,  other  soldiers 
entered  the  town  from  the  north.  These  were  met  by  German 
patrols,  which  were  followed  by  stronger  German  forces  that 
had  come  up  from  the  south  to  drive  back  the  invaders.  Street 
fighting  followed,  and  the  Russians  were  finally  thrown  out,  los- 
ing about  150  dead. 

The  Russians  were  pursued  on  March  22  and  23,  1915,  and  in 
passing  through  Polangen,  close  to  the  shore  of  the  Baltic,  came 
under  the  fire  of  German  cruisers.  They  lost  some  500  prisoners, 
3  guns,  3  machine  guns,  and  ammunition  wagons.  With  the 
German  troops  which  cleared  the  Russians  out  of  Memel  was  the 
son  of  the  emperor.  Prince  Joachim  of  Prussia. 

Concerning  this  raid  the  following  official  announcement  was 
made  by  the  Germans  on  March  18,  1915:  "Russian  militia 
troops  have  gained  a  cheap  success  in  the  northernmost  comer 
of  East  Prussia  in  the  direction  of  Memel.  They  have  plundered 
and  burned  villages  and  farms.  As  a  penalty,  we  have  ordered 
the  cities  occupied  by  us  in  Russian  territory  to  pay  consider- 
able sums  in  damages.  For  every  village  or  farm  burned  down 
by  these  hordes  on  German  soil  three  villages  or  farms  of  the 
territory  occupied  by  us  in  Russia  will  be  given  over  to  the 
flames.  Each  act  of  damage  in  Memel  will  be  answered  by  the 
burning  of  Russian  Government  buildings  in  Suwalki  and  other 
capitals  of  governments." 

To  this  the  following  Russian  official  reply  was  made  on 
March  21, 1915 :  "The  official  communique  of  the  German  Great 
Headquarters  of  the  18th  of  March  concerning  the  movement  of 
Russian  troops  against  Memel  contains  a  threat  of  reprisals  to 
be  exacted  on  Russian  villages  and  cities  held  by  the  enemy  on 
account  of  the  losses  which  might  be  suffered  by  the  population  in 

22— War  St.  3 

336  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  neighborhood  of  Memel.  The  Russian  General  Staff  gives 
public  notice  that  Memel  was  openly  defended  by  hostile  troops, 
and  that  battle  was  offered  in  the  streets.  Since  the  civil  popu- 
lation took  part  in  this  fight  our  troops  were  compelled  to  reply 
with  corresponding  measures.  If,  therefore,  the  German  troops 
should  carry  out  their  threat  against  the  peaceful  inhabitants 
of  the  Russian  territory  which  they  hold,  such  acts  should  be 
considered  not  as  reprisals  but  as  independent  acts.  Responsi- 
bility for  this,  as  well  as  for  the  consequences,  would  rest  upon 
the  Germans." 

The  move  against  Memel  was  apparently  part  of  a  Russian 
operation  which  was  intended  also  to  strike  at  the  city  of 
Tilsit.  The  German  Great  Headquarters  reported  that  for  op- 
erations intended  to  seize  the  northern  regions  of  East  Prussia  a 
so-called  Riga-Shavli  army  group  had  been  formed  under  the 
command  of  General  Apuchtin.  While  portions  of  these  troops 
were  active  in  Memel  on  March  18,  1915,  the  fourteen  German 
Landsturm  companies  holding  Tauroggen,  just  to  the  north  of 
the  East  Prussian  boundary,  were  attacked  by  superior  forces 
and  practically  surrounded.  They  fought  their  way  through  to 
Langszargen  with  some  difficulty,  and  were  being  pressed  back 
on  the  road  to  Tilsit  when  on  March  23  German  reenf  orcements 
came  up  and  General  von  Pappritz,  leading  the  Germans,  went 
over  to  the  offensive. 

A  heavy  thaw  made  movement  of  troops  anywhere  except  on 
the  main  roads  extremely  difficult.  Guns  were  left  stuck  in  the 
mud,  and  the  infantry  waded  to  the  knee  in  water,  and  some- 
times to  the  waist.  It  is  reported  that  one  of  the  horses  of  the 
artillery  literally  was  drowned  on  the  road.  Germans  attacked 
Tauroggen,  where  the  enemy  had  intrenched  himself,  under  an 
artillery  fire  directed  from  the  church  tower  of  the  place.  On 
the  28th  the  town  was  taken^  after  a  difficult  crossing  of  the  Jura 
River  in  front  of  it,  on  the  ice.  The  Germans  then  exulted  in 
the  fact  that  not  a  Russian  was  left  on  German  soil. 




ON  the  20th  of  April,  1915,  an  announcement  was  made  by  the 
German  Great  Headquarters  which  took  the  Russians  and 
the  world  in  general  more  or  less  by  surprise.  It  gave  the  first 
glimpse  to  the  public  of  a  group  of  operations  which  caused  no 
little  speculation  in  the  minds  of  strategists.    It  read : 

"The  advance  troops  of  our  forces  operating  in  northwestern 
Russia  yesterday  reached  on  a  broad  front  the  railway  running 
from  Dunaburg  (Dvinsk)  to  Libau.  Thus  far  the  Russian  troops 
present  in  that  region,  including  also  the  remnants  of  those 
which  took  part  in  the  raid  against  Memel,  have  attempted  no 
serious  resistance  anywhere.  Fighting  is  now  in  progress  near 

The  advance  into  Courland  here  announced  had  been  made  by 
the  German  troops  at  high  speed.  The  forces  were  under  the 
command  of  General  von  Lauenstein.  They  had  begun  to  move 
early  on  the  27th  of  April,  in  three  columns.  One  of  these  crossed 
the  Niemen  at  Schmalleningken,  forming  the  right  wing  of  the 
troops  engaged  in  the  movement.  The  columns  of  the  left  wing 
broke  out  of  East  Prussia  at  its  northernmost  point,  and  moved 
along  the  dunes  of  the  Baltic.  On  the  second  day  of  the  forward 
march  it  was  learned  by  the  leaders  of  the  advancing  troops  t3iat 
the  Russians  had  hastily  left  their  position  at  Skawdwile,  on  the 
main  road  from  Tilsit  to  Mitau,  to  escape  being  surrounded  on 

leir  left  flank,  and  had  withdrawn  to  Shavli  by  way  of  Heilmy. 
)n  the  third  day  the  German  right  column  crossed  the  Win- 

Lwski  Canal  under  the  enemy's  fire,  and  on  the  afternoon  of  the 
JOth  of  April  this  column  entered  Shavli,  which  had  been  set  on 

•e  by  the  Russians. 

The  Germans  had  now  crossed  at  several  points  the  Libau- 
>unaburg  railway.  They  were  in  Telsche  and  Trischki.    Their 

ivalry  pushed  ahead  at  full  speed  with  orders  to  destroy  the 





railways  wherever  it  found  them.  On  the  road  to  Mitau  they 
captured  Russian  machine  guns,  ammunition  wagons,  and  bag- 
gage, and  broke  up  the  railway  tracks  to  the  southwest  and 
northwest  of  ShavH.  The  Russians  who  had  been  taken  by  sur- 
prise by  this  movement  had  apparently  only  weak  forces  in 
Courland,  and  these  had  retired  while  reenforcements  were 
being  rushed  up  by  railway.  The  German  infantry,  upon  the 
receipt  of  reports  that  the  Russians  were  moving  up  by  rail  from 
Kovno  on  their  right  flank,  was  ordered  to  stop  its  advance  and 
prepare  to  hold  the  Dubissa  line,  taking  up  a  front  running  a 
little  east  of  south.  Cavalry  moving  forwiard  in  the  center  of  the 
German  advance  on  the  3d  of  May,  1915,  got  within  two  kilo- 
meters of  Mitau,  going  beyond  Grilnhof  and  capturing  2,000 
Russians.  At  Skaisgiry  on  the  day  before  1,000  prisoners 
had  been  taken,  and  Janischki  and  Shagory  had  been  oc- 
cupied far  beyond  the  Libau-Dunaburg  railway.  By  this  time 
Russian  reenforcements  were  arriving  at  Mitau  in  huge 
numbers.  The  German  cavalry  ultimately  fell  back  after 
indicting  all  possible  damage  to  the  communications  in  their 

The  Germans  prided  themselves  a  good  deal  on  the  marching 
of  their  troops  in  this  swift  advance.  They  pointed  out  that  the 
roads  were  in  extremely  bad  condition,  the  bridges  for  the  most 
destroyed,  and  the  population  to  a  large  extent  hostile.  A  mili- 
tary correspondent  figured  that  for  a  daily  march  of  fifty  Kilo- 
metei:s,  such  as  was  frequently  made  in  Courland,  62,000  steps 
of  an  average  of  eighty  centimeters  were  required.  This  for  a 
day's  march  of  from  nine  to  ten  hours  gives  an  average  of  five 
to  six  kilometers  per  hour,  some  6,000  to  7,000  steps.  That 
makes  in  the  neighborhood  of  100  steps  per  minute,  which  the 
correspondent  regarded  as  a  considerable  accomplishment  when 
allowance  is  made  for  the  fact  that  this  was  kept  up  hour  after 
hour  in  full  marching  equipment. 

The  column  coming  from  Memel,  directed  along  the  Baltic 
shores,  had  been  steadily  moving  on  Libau.  In  preparation 
for  the  land  attack  German  naval  vessels  on  the  29th  of  April 
had  bombarded  the  forts  defending  the  town.    On  the  6th  of  May 

340  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  Russians  themselves  blew  up  one  of  the  forts  on  the  eastern 
front.  The  shore  batteries  were  soon  after  silenced  by  German 
fire.  The  German  troops  advancing  from  the  land  side  took  the 
forts  on  the  south  almost  without  opposition.  Russian  troops 
which  had  been  unloaded  at  Mitau  and  sent  forward  toward  the 
southwest  were  unable  to  come  up  in  time  to  offer  any  obstacles 
to  the  German  advance,  and  on  the  8th  of  May,  at  six  o'clock  in 
the  morning,  the  German  soldiers  marched  into  Libau,  where 
they  took  about  1,500  prisoners,  twelve  guns,  and  a  number  of 
machine  guns. 

The  Germans  immediately  turned  the  metal-working  plants  of 
the  city  to  their  uses  in  the  manufacture  of  chains,  barbed  wire, 
etc.  They  also  found  here  a  large  supply  of  tools  for  intrench- 
ing work.  Most  of  the  Russians  of  the  city  had  fled.  One  motive 
for  the  German  advance  into  Courland  advanced  by  their  ene- 
mies was  that  it  was  an  attempt  to  include  a  rich  section  of 
country  in  foraging  operations,  and  it  is  a  fact  that  the  German 
authorities  gave  expression  to  their  satisfaction  at  seizing  a 
region  that  was  of  considerable  economic  value.  It  is  apparent, 
however,  in  regarding  these  operations  in  the  retrospect  that 
they  had  no  small  bearing  on  the  German  plan  of  campaign  as 
a  whole.  It  was  at  the  time  that  the  inroad  into  Courland  was 
started  that  the  signal  was  about  to  be  given  for  the  great  on- 
slaught far  to  the  south  on  the  Dunajec,  as  described  in  the 
account  of  the  Austro-Russian  campaign.  As  the  vast  campaign 
along  the  whole  eastern  front  developed,  it  became  more  and 
more  apparent  that  the  position  of  the  German  troops  in  Cour- 
land placed  them  advantageously  for  taking  the  Russian  line  of 
defenses,  of  which  the  fortress  of  Kovno  represented  the  north- 
em  end  in  the  flank  in  this  carrying  out  of  an  important  part  of 
the  vast  encircling  movement  which  took  all  Poland  in  its  grasp. 
They  were  a  constant  threat  to  the  all-important  Vilna-Petro^ 
grad  Railway. 

In  hostile  and  neutral  countries  the  Courland  invasion  pro- 
voked comment  indicating  astonishment  at  the  resources  of  the 
Teutonic  powers  in  being  able  to  extend  their  lines  while  already 
fully  engaged  on  an  enormous  front. 


fhe  Russians,  awakening  from  their  first  astonishment,  made 
vigorous  attempts  to  obtain  permanent  possession  of  the 
Dubissa  line.  Along  this  line  the  German  troops  were  for  a 
time  forced  to  yield  ground  and  to  go  into  the  defensive  and 
to  resist  heavy  Russian  attacks.  Shavli  was  given  up  under 
Russian  pressure.  By  May  14,  all  the  territory  east  of 
the  Dubissa  and  Windau  (Vindowa)  was  reported  free  of 

Especially  noteworthy  among  the  struggles  for  the  Dubissa 
was  the  fight  at  Rossiennie,  a  town  which  was  of  special  impor- 
tance because  of  its  command  of  the  roads  centering  in  it.  On 
the  22d  of  May,  1915,  an  attack  was  delivered  against  this  place 
by  the  First  Caucasian  Rifle  Brigade  with  artillery  and  assisted 
by  the  Fifteenth  Cavalry  Division.  On  the  23d  the  German  cav- 
alry which  had  resisted  their  crossing  the  river  drew  back,  and 
the  Russians  here  crossed  the  Dubissa,  approaching  Rossiennie 
from  the  north.  The  Germans  during  the  night  moved  the 
greater  part  of  their  troops  around  the  western  wing  of  their 
opponents  and  placed  them  in  position  for  attack. 

At  daybreak  heavy  artillery  fire  was  poured  upon  the  Rus- 
sians from  the  German  position  to  the  north  of  Rossiennie,  while 
at  the  same  time  the  German  infantry  fell  upon  the  Russian 
flank  and  rolled  it  up,  with  the  result  that  the  Russians  were 
compelled  to  recross  the  Dubissa.  In  the  crossing  numerous 
wounded  were  drowned  in  the  river.  The  Germans  took  2,500 
prisoners  and  fifteen  machine  guns.  Similar  counterattacks  were 
delivered  by  the  Germans  on  the  River  Wenta.  Then,  on  the 
5th  of  June,  1915,  a  general  ofl^ensive  was  entered  upon  by  the 
whole  German  line  on  orders  from  the  General  Staff,  which  car- 
ried it  beyond  the  Dubissa,  and  after  heavy  fighting  finally  se- 
cured for  the  Germans  the  Windawski  Canal,  which  they  had 
had  to  relinquish  before.  Their  troops  now  slowly  pushed  their 
way  back  toward  Shavli  until  the  city  came  within  reach  of 
their  heavy  guns,  and  took  Kuze,  twelve  kilometers  to  the  north- 
west of  Shavli  on  the  railway.  On  the  14th  of  June,  1915,  this 
series  of  operations  came  to  a  temporary  halt.  German  official 
reports  pointed  to  the  fact  that  among  14,000  prisoners  which 

342  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

they  had  taken  there  were  only  a  few  officers,  and  that  with 
these  not  a  single  cannon  was  captured.  They  regarded  it  as 
showing  that  the  Russians  were  getting  very  cautious  in  the 
use  of  their  artillery  and  were  short  of  officers. 


BATTLES     IN      MAY     AND     JUNE 

OFFENSIVES  on  a  large  scale  such  as  that  which  had  been 
prevented  by  the  "Winter  JBattle  of  the  Mazurian  Lakes" 
were  not  attempted  by  the  Russians  on  their  northern  wing  after 
the  short  counterattack  that  had  pushed  their  lines  into  the 
Mlawa  angle  in  the  corner  of  the  Vistula  and  the  Prussian 
boundary  beyond  Przasnysz,  to  the  east  of  Thorn.  They  vir- 
tually remained  in  their  strongly  fortified  positions  along  the 
Narew,  the  Bobr,  and  the  Niemen,  except  for  the  sending  out 
of  occasional  attacking  columns  against  the  German  lines  lying 
opposite  to  them. 

These  forward  thrusts  were  made  especially  from  the  for- 
tresses Grodno  and  Kovno,  and  the  fortified  place  Olita.  We 
have  already  dealt  with  one  such  operation  which  came  to  grief 
in  the  forest  of  Augustowo  in  March.  The  German  invasion 
of  Courland  had  taken  place,  and  the  extension  of  the  German 
lines  to  the  north  invited  a  thrust  at  their  communications  when, 
in  the  middle  of  May,  the  Russians  attempted  to  break  through 
the  German  lines  with  columns  starting  from  the  great  forest 
to  the  west  of  Kovno.  Here  German  troops  under  General  Litz- 
mann,  acting  under  the  command  of  General  von  Eichhorn,  stood 
on  guard.  When  Litzmann  received  information  that  the  Rus- 
sians were  advancing  in  force  he  was  obliged  hastily  to  gather 
such  troops  as  he  £ould  find  to  stem  the  Russian  attack.  Troop 
units  from  a  large  variety  of  different  organizations  were  freshly 
grouped  practically  on  the  battle  field.    At  Szaki  and  Gryszka- 


buda,  on  May  17-20,  they  struck  the  Russians  with  such  force 
that  the  Slavs  were  driven  back  into  the  forests. 

The  German  general  now  decided  to  clear  this  territory  of 
his  enemies,  as  it  had  given  them  a  constant  opportunity  for 
the  preparation  of  moves  which  could  not  be  readily  observed, 
because  of  the  protection  of  the  thick  woods.  Again  he  executed 
the  favorite  maneuver  of  Von  Hindenburg's  armies.  He  gath- 
ered as  heavy  a  weight  of  troops  as  possible  on  his  left  wing 
and  pushed  them  forward  in  an  extended  encircling  movement. 
From  the  south  a  strong  column  from  Mariampol  and  the  line 
of  the  Szsczupa  moved  upon  the  fortified  position  of  the  Rus- 
sians and  the  southern  corner  of  the  great  forest,  meeting  with 
strong  resistance  at  Dumbowa  Ruda.  The  troops  moving  down 
from  the  northern  part  of  the  woods  swung  to  their  right  to  cut 
off  the  Russians  from  their  retreat  toward  Kovno.  By  the  time 
the  operations  had  reached  this  stage  it  was  the  second  week 
in  June,  1915,  and  in  the  great  pine  forests  extending  for  miles 
there  was  an  oppressive  heat  with  perfect  absence  of  breeze. 
Three  Russian  positions  lying  in  the  river  valleys  in  the  forest 
were  encircled  one  after  another  from  the  north  and  had  to  be 
given  up. 

The  Russians  recognized  the  danger  of  the  concentric  attack 
directed  at  them  and  fought  with  great  bravery.  They  strove 
to  keep  open  the  road  of  their  retreat  toward  Kovno  as  long 
as  possible.  However,  the  ring  of  the  German  troops  closed 
swiftly.  At  Koslowa  Ruda,  in  the  southern  part  of  the  forest, 
they  found  at  night  a  sleeping  army ;  something  like  3,000  Rus- 
sians had  lain  down  exhausted  in  order  on  the  next  day  to  find 
the  last  opening  through  which  to  make  their  escape.  They  were 
now  saved  the  trouble  and  were  led  away  prisoners.  The  great 
forest  was  cleared  of  Russians.  The  German  move  had  served 
to  insure  the  safety  of  the  lines  connecting  the  troops  in  Cour- 
land  with  their  bases  to  the  south  of  the  Niemen. 

In  an  official  announcement  of  the  18th  of  March,  1915,  the 
German  Government  sketched  the  line  held  in  the  east  by  the 
German  troops  northward  of  the  front  covered>  by  joint  German 
and  Austrian  forces.    It  read :  " Jhe  line  occupied  by  us  in  the 

344  THE    STORY   DF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

east  runs  from  the  Pilica,  along  the  Rawka  and  Bzura  to  the 
Vistula.  North  of  the  Vistula  the  line  of  our  troops  is  continued 
from  the  region  to  the  east  of  Plozkz  by  way  of  Zurominek- 
Stupsk  (both  south  of  Mlawa).  From  there  it  runs  in  an  east- 
erly direction  through  the  region  to  the  north  of  Przasnysz — 
south  of  Mystinez,  south  of  Kolno — to  the  north  of  Lomza,  and 
strikes  the  Bobr  at  Mocarce.  From  here  it  follows  the  line  of 
the  Bobr  to  northwest  of  Ossowetz,  which  is  under  our  fire,  and 
runs  by  way  of  the  region  to  east  of  Augustowo,  by  Krasnopol, 
Mariempol,  Pilwiszki,  Szaki,  along  the  border  through  Taurog- 
gen  to  the  northwest.  This  is  from  beginning  to  end  entirely 
on  hostile  soil."  This  long  line,  it  appears,  was  under  the  supreme 
command  of  Von  Hindenburg,  while  Von  Mackensen  had  charge 
of  the  great  drive  to  the  south. 

The  statement  here  quoted  was  issued  as  reassurance  to  Ger- 
mans who  had  been  made  nervous  by  reports  of  a  Russian  inva- 
sion of  East  Prussia,  and  was  connected  with  the  Russian  raid 
on  Memel. 

Until  June  there  was  practically  no  change  in  this  great  line, 
except  that  on  its  northern  end  it  was  swung  outward  into  Rus- 
sian territory  to  include  a  large  part  of  Courland,  the  River 
Dubissa  roughly  forming  the  dividing  line  until  the  front  swung 
eastward  toward  Libau,  in  the  line  of  the  Libau-Dunaburg 

The  tasks  of  both  German  and  Russian  troops  were  similar. 
Comparatively  weak  German  forces  held  the  front  in  the  region 
of  the  Niemen,  the  Bobr,  and  the  Narew,  safeguarding  such 
Russian  territory  as  had  been  seized  by  the  Germans,  and  pro- 
tecting East  Prussia  against  invasion.  Opposed  to  them  lay 
considerable  Russian  forces  whose  task  it  was,  supported  by  the 
fortresses  of  the  Narew  and  the  Niemen,  especially  Grodno,  to 
protect  the  flank  and  rear  of  the  Russians  standing  in  Warsaw 
and  southward  in  the  bend  of  the  Vistula,  with  the  Warsaw- 
Vilna  Railway  behind  them,  while  great  decisions  were  fought 
for  in  the  Carpathians  and  Galicia. 

In  Poland,  between  the  lower  and  the  upper  courses  of  the 
Vistula,  the  Germans  about  the  middle  of  February,  1915,  hav- 


ing  occupied  the  Rawka-Sucha  ridge  of  upland,  had  developed 
fortified  positions  along  the  rivers  Bzura,  Rawka,  Pilica,  and 
Nida.  The  bad  weather  of  the  winter  and  early  spring,  which 
had  turned  the  roads  of  Poland  into  pathless  morasses,  made 
against  extensive  operations,  and  the  momentous  undertakings 
carried  out  on  the  wings  of  the  eastern  front  led  the  German 
General  Staff  to  refrain  from  important  movements  in  this  sec- 
tion, where  the  Russians  had  strongly  fortified  themselves  for 
the  protection  of  Warsaw.  It  was  not  until  the  Teutonic  allies 
had  gone  over  to  the  offensive  in  the  Carpathians  and  in  west- 
ern Galicia,  and  the  Russians  had  withdrawn  to  the  Polish  hills 
of  Lysa-Gora  early  in  May,  that,  favored  by  improved  weather* 
conditions,  operations  in  this  part  of  Poland  again  took  on  larger 
scope.  Especially  along  the  Bzura  the  German  attacks  again 
became  violent  in  an  effort  to  hold  the  Russian  forces  in  the  dis- 
trict to  the  west  of  Warsaw  while  thrusting  at  th^ir  wings  from 
the  south  and  north.  However,  fighting  was  not  of  great  conse- 
quence in  this  middle  sector  until  the  middle  of  June,  1915. 



BY  the  1st  of  July,  1915,  the  stupendous  enveloping  campaign 
of  the  Teuton  armies  on  the  eastern  front  had  advanced  to 
a  point  where  the  Allies  were  forced  to  recognize  the  imminence 
of  a  catastrophe,  which  could  be  averted  only  by  the  most  decisive 
action  of  the  Russian  armies. 

Far  in  the  north,  on  the  extreme  right  wing  of  the  Russians, 
tlxe  army  of  General  von  Biilow  was  hammering  at  the  defenses 
of  the  Dubissa  line.  Off  and  on  fighting  was  taking  place  in  the 
neighborhood  of  Shavli.  Russian  counterattacks,  reported  from 
day  to  day  through  June,  with  difficulty  had  held  in  check  this 
army,  which  evidently  was  aiming  at  the  Warsaw-Petrograd 

346  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT    WAR 

Railway  on  the  sector  between  Vilna  and  Dvinsk.  On  the  right 
flank  of  these  forces  operated  the  troops  of  General  von  Eich- 
horn,  with  the  line  of  the  Niemen  for  their  objective.  Next  to 
these  on  the  south,  aiming  at  the  Bobr  River  and  the  Upper 
Narew,  were  the  forces  of  General  von  Scholtz,  and  on  their 
right  the  army  of  Von  Gallwitz,  based  on  Mlawa  with  Przasnysz 
in  front  of  it.  Below  the  line  of  the  Vistula,  before  the  Bzura 
and  down  to  the  middle  course  of  the  Pilica,  operated  the  Ninth 
German  Army,  commanded,  at  least  in  the  later  stages  of  the 
Warsaw  campaign,  by  Prince  Leopold  of  Bavaria.  The  whole 
group  of  northern  and  central  armies  was  acting  under  the  gen- 
eral direction  of  Field  Marshal  von  Hindenburg. 

The  armies  to  the  south  of  this  group,  cooperating  in  the 
drive  under  Field  Marshal  von  Mackensen  which  had  gained 
the  Teutons  Przemysl  and  Lemberg,  had  as  their  left  flank  the 
forces  of  Generals  von  Woyrsch  and  Kovess  between  the  Pilica 
and  the  Vistula  mouth  of  the  San.  The  troops  of  Archduke 
Joseph  Ferdinand  were  pushing  forward  on  the  right  of  these, 
and  the  army  directly  under  Mackensen  himself  came  next  in 
line  to  the  eastward,  joining  up  with  the  armies  still  operating 
in  Galicia  at  the  extreme  right  of  the  great  German  battle  line. 

The  chief  danger  to  the  Russians  at  this  stage  still  threatened 
from  the  south,  where  the  archduke  and  Mackensen  had  pushed 
forward  irresistibly  in  their  advance  to  the  east  of  the  Vistula 
toward  the  railway  running  from  Warsaw  through  Ivangorod, 
Lublin,  Cholm,  and  Kovell  to  Kiev  and  Moscow. 

The  advance  of  these  Austro-German  armies,  which  had  oper- 
ated in  the  neighborhood  of  Lemberg,  was  extremely  rapid  in 
the  last  days  of  June,  1915.  In  four  days  they  covered  from 
thirty  to  forty  miles  in  pursuit  of  the  Russians.  By  the  1st  of 
July,  having  swept  out  of  Galicia,  their  right,  under  Mackensen, 
entered  the  upper  valley  of  the  Wieprz,  a  marshy  country  which 
presented  considerable  difficulty  to  the  advance  of  troops  where 
a  tributary  of  the  Wieprz,  the  Por,  afforded  the  Russians  a  natu- 
ral line  of  defense.  Drasnik,  on  the  Wyznica,  which  here  ex- 
tended the  Russian  defensive  line  westward,  was  occupied  by  the 
archduke's  forces  on  Mackensen's  left  on  the  1st  of  July,  1915. 


The  drive  of  the  Austro-German  armies  through  Galicia  has 
been  dealt  with  in  the  account  of  the  Austro-Russian  cam- 
paign. As  we  carry  forward  the  account  of  the  activities  of  the 
greatest  part  of  the  forces  concerned  in  that  series  of  opera- 
tions from  the  point  where  they  crossed  over  the  boundary 
between  Galicia  and  Poland  out  of  Austrian  territory,  it  will 
be  well  to  glance  backward  a  moment  to  enumerate  here 
briefly  the  gains  of  these  armies  on  Polish  soil  up  to  the  1st 
of  July. 

On  June  16,  1915,  the  Teutonic  allies  forced  the  Russians  to 
fall  back  upon  Tarnograd  from  north  of  Siemandria,  thus  push- 
ing this  section  of  the  front  across  the  boundary  into  Poland 
about  to  the  line  of  the  Tanev.  Tarnograd  itself  was  occupied 
by  the  Teutons  on  the  17th,  and  on  the  18th  the  Russians  re- 
treated behind  the  Tanev.  There  was  little  change  in  this  par- 
ticular sector  during  the  fighting  which  was  crowned  for  the 
Austro-Germans  by  the  capture  of  Lemberg  on  June  22,  1915. 
Further  to  the  east,  however,  to  the  south  of  the  Pilica  and  west 
of  the  Vistula,  Von  Woyrsch  was  exerting  pressure,  and  on  the 
20th  of  June  Berlin  announced  the  capture  of  several  Russian 
advance  posts  by  these  troops.  By  the  24th  the  Slavs  had  begun 
to  retreat  before  Von  Woyrsch  in  the  forest  region  south  of  the 
Ilza  on  the  left  bank  of  the  Vistula ;  thus  rear  guards  had  been 
thrown  across  the  Kamienna,  and  Sandomir  was  occupied  by 
the  Austro-Hungarians.  On  the  25th  the  fighting  developed  on 
the  line  Zarvichost-Sienno-Ilza,  to  which  the  Russians  had  fallen 

Defeats  of  the  Russian  rear  guards  on  June  29,  1915,  to  the 
northeast  and  west  of  Tomaszow,  where  Teutonic  forces  had 
now  also  crossed  into  Poland,  caused  the  Slavs  to  begin  the  re- 
linquishment of  the  Tanev  forest  district  and  the  lower  San. 
Tomaszow  itself  was  occupied  by  the  pursuing  troops.  By  the 
30th  the  Teutonic  allies  had  swept  forward  beyond  the  Tanev 
region  to  Franpol,  Zamoez,  and  Komarovo,  and  on  the  same  eve- 
ning they  threw  the  Russians  out  of  their  strong  defenses  on  the 
Zavichost-Ozarow-Sienno  line,  west  of  the  Vistula.  The  pur- 
suit was  pushed  energetically  on  both  sides  of  the  Kamienna. 

348  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

The  important  bridgehead  on  the  Vistula,  Josefovo,  was  taken 
on  the  1st  of  July. 

The  Russians  between  the  Bug  and  the  Vistula  were  now 
offering  strong  resistance  with  large  forces  on  the  line  Turobin- 
Krasnik-Josefovo,  the  rivers  Por  and  Wyznica  forming  roughly 
their  defensive  front,  as  previously  pointed  out. 

In  its  daily  bulletins  of  July  1,  1915,  the  German  Great  Head- 
quarters made  this  announcement  for  the  eastern  theatre  of 
war  (from  the  Baltic  to  the  Pilica) :  "The  booty  for  June  is : 
Two  colors,  25,595  prisoners,  including  121  officers,  seven  can- 
non, six  mine  throwers,  fifty-two  machine  guns,  one  aeroplane, 
also  a  large  amount  of  war  material."  For  the  southeastern 
theatre  of  war  (from  the  Pilica  to  Bukowina)  the  headquarters 
announced :  "The  total  booty  for  June  of  the  allied  troops  fighting 
under  the  command  of  General  von  Linsingen,  Field  Marshal  von 
Mackensen,  and  General  von  Worysch  is  409  officers,  140,650 
men,  80  cannon,  268  machine  guns."  The  Austro-Hungarian 
General  Staff  on  the  same  day  reported:  "The  total  booty  for 
June  of  the  troops  fighting  under  Austro-Hungarian  command 
in  the  northeast  is  521  officers,  194,000  men,  93  cannon,  364 
machine  guns,  78  ammunition  wagons,  100  field  railway  car- 
riages, etc." 



ON  July  2,  1915,  the  forces  of  the  Archduke  Joseph  Ferdinand 
which  had  passed  through  Krasnik,  dn  the  Lublin  road, 
struck  serious  resistance  from  the  Russian  army  of  General 
Loesche  which  held  strong  positions  across  the  highway,  just 
to  the  north  of  the  town,  and  was  now  evidently  deteimined  to 
stop  once  for  all  the  Teuton  advance  toward  the  railway  at 
its  back,  connecting  Warsaw  with  Kiev,  through  Lublin  and 


On  July  3,  1915,  the  Austrian  report,  however,  announced  that 
4,800  prisoners  and  three  machine  guns  had  been  taken  in  the 
neighborhood  of  Krasnik  and  along  the  Por  stream,  and  the 
next  day  they  reported  that  they  had  occupied  the  heights  which 
run  along  to  the  north  of  the  city,  having  pierced  the  enemy's 
main  position  on  both  sides  of  Studzianki,  and  taken  more  than 
1,000  prisoners,  three  machine  guns  and  three  cannon. 

The  Russian  front  was  turned  to  such  an  extent  that  they 
had  to  fall  back  some  three  miles  on  the  Lublin  road.  The  Aus- 
trians  on  the  5th  of  July  summed  up  their  enemy's  losses  as 
twenty-nine  officers,  8,000  men,  six  cannon,  five  ammunition 
wagons,  and  six  machine  guns.  As  the  result  of  this  Austrian 
advance  the  adjoining  enemy  forces  to  the  eastward  along  the 
Wieprz  River  had  been  obliged  to  fall  back  beyond  Tamograd, 
and  by  the  6th  of  July  Vienna  summarized  the  Austrian  cap- 
tures in  these  battles  as  having  grown  to  forty-one  officers, 
F  11,500  men. 
The  Austrians,  however,  could  make  no  further  headway.  On 
July  5,  1915,  they  were  heavily  attacked,  being  forced  back  to 
their  intrenched  lines  on  a  ridge  of  hills  to  the  north  of  Krasnik, 
The  Russians  now  reported  that  they  had  taken  15,000  prisoners 
and  a  large  number  of  machine  guns.  Two  thousand  bodies  were 
eported  by  the  Russians  to  have  been  found  before  their  front. 

ore  prisoners  were  taken  by  the  Russians  on  the  7th  and  it 
was  only  on  the  afternoon  of  July  9  that  the  Austrians  were 
able  to  stem  the  tide.    The  total  loss  of  the  Austrians  in  this 
[action  was  given  by  their  opponents  as  15,000  men. 

The  Austrian  explanation  of  their  retirement  in  front  of 
Krasnik  issued  on  July  11,  1915,  pointed  out  that  the  relative 
subsidence  of  activity  of  the  Teutonic  allies  was  due  to  the  fact 
that  the  goal  set  for  the  Lemberg  campaign  had  now  been  attained. 
This,  they  explained,  was  the  taking  of  the  city  and  the  securing 
of  ^strong  defensive  positions  to  the  east  and  north.  The  ridge 
to  the  northward  of  Krasnik  was  a  natural  choice  for  this  pur- 
pose on  the  north,  while  the  line  of  the  Zlota  Lipa  and  Bug  rivers 
served  the  purpose  toward  the  east  (see  Austro-Russian  cam- 
paign).    The  Austrian  explanation  pointed  out  further  that 

350  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

some  of  their  troops  had  rushed  beyond  the  positions  originally 
selected  to  meet  heavy  reenforcements  brought  up  by  the  Rus- 
sians from  Lublin,  and  that  these  had  to  withdraw  to  the  ridge, 
where  they  were  successfully  resisting  all  attacks. 

The  battle  of  Krasnikwas  regarded  by  the  Russians  as  an  effec- 
tive victory,  for  it  seemed  to  have  halted  the  advance  on  Lublin. 
The  army  of  Von  Mackensen  had  now  also  come  to  a  stop  about 
halfway  between  Zamosc  and  Krasnostav,  an  artillery  duel  on 
July  7,  1915,  being  the  last  activity  noted  on  the  front  of  this 
army  for  some  time. 

Their  comparative  quiet  in  the  region  between  the  Vistula 
and  the  Bug  where  the  main  advance  of  the  Teutonic  forces  on 
the  south  had  been  under  way  with  great  vigor  for  several  weeks 
until  the  check  at  Krasnik  was  not  interrupted  until  July  16, 
1915.  Day  after  day  the  Teutonic  headquarters  reported  "noth- 
ing of  importance"  in  this  quarter.  When  the  quiet  was  finally 
broken  it  appeared  that  it  had  been  the  lull  before  the  storm. 
Before  taking  up  again  the  activities  on  this  section  of  the  front, 
it  will  be  necessary  to  take  a  glance  toward  the  northern 
half  of  the  great  arc  that  enveloped  the  Warsaw  salient  on  two 

In  these  early  days  of  July,  1915,  considerable  uncertainty 
prevailed  among  those  who  were  watching  the  progress  of  the 
campaign  in  Poland  as  to  where  the  heaviest  blow  of  the  Teutons 
would  fall,  whether  from  the  south  or  the  north.  The  decisive 
stroke  came  with  lightning  suddenness.  A  tremendous  attack 
was  launched  in  the  direction  of  the  Narew  by  the  army  of 
General  von  Gallwitz. 

A  laconic  announcement  of  the  German  General  Staff  on  July 
14,  1915,  bore  momentous  news,  although  its  modest  wording 
scarcely  betrayed  the  facts.  It  read :  "Between  the  Niemen  and 
the  Vistula,  in  the  region  of  Walwarga,  southwest  of  Koino,  near 
Przasnysz  and  south  of  Mlawa,  our  troops  have  achieved  some 
local  successes."  The  Russian  report  referring  to  the  beginning 
of  the  same  action  was  equally  noncommittal,  though  possibly 
more  misleading.  This  states :  "Considerable  enemy  forces  be- 
tween the  Orczy  and  the  Lidynja  adopted  the  offensive  and  the 


Russians  declining  a  decisive  engagement  retreated  during  the 
night  of  the  13th  to  the  second  line  of  their  positions." 

On  July  15,  1915,  the  Germans  announced  that  the  city  of 
Przasnysz,  for  which  such  hot  battles  had  been  fought  in 
February,  and  which  had  since  been  strongly  fortified  by  the 
Russians,  had  been  occupied  by  them.  The  German  summary  of 
this  action  given  out  a  few  days  later  stated  that  three  Russian 
defensive  lines  lying  one  behind  the  other  northwest  and  north- 
east of  Przasnysz  had  been  pierced  and  taken,  the  troops  at  once 
rushing  forward  to  Dzielin  and  Lipa,  respectively  west  and  east 
of  the  town.  Under  attack  from  these  two  points  the  Russians 
after  yielding  Przasnysz,  on  the  14th,  retired  to  their  defensive 
line  Ciechanow-Krasnosielc  which  had  been  prepared  long  before- 
hand. On  the  15th  the  German  troops  pressing  closer  upon  the 
retiring  Slavs  stormed  this  line  and  broke  through  it  to  the 
south  of  Zielona  on  a  breadth  of  seven  kilometers,  forcing  the 
Rus&lans  again  to  retire.  General  von  Gallwitz's  troops  in  this 
assault  were  supported  by  the  forces  of  General  von  Scholtz, 
on  their  left,  who  were  pressing  the  Russians  from  the  direction 
of  Kolno.  On  July  16,  1915,  the  Russians  were  retreating  on  the 
whole  front  between  the  Pissa  and  the  Vistula,  toward  the 

The  German  summary  of  the  fighting  during  these  days  re- 
ported the  capture  by  the  army  of  General  von  Gallwitz  of  eighty- 
eight  officers,  17,500  men,  thirteen  cannon  (including  one  heavy 
gun),  forty  machine  guns,  and  seven  mine  throwers;  and  by  the 
army  of  General  von  Scholtz  of  2,500  prisoners  and  eight  ma- 
chine guns. 

I'  This  great  attack  in  the  north,  to  which  may  be  ascribed  the 
final  breaking  of  tlie  lines  that  had  so  long  protected  Warsaw, 
tad  been  carefully  planned  and  undoubtedly  was  timed  in  co- 
ordination with  the  movements  of  Mackensen's  armies  on  the 
pouth,  striking  the  Russians  just  when  Mackensen  and  the  Arch- 
duke Josef,  having  had  time  for  recuperation  and  preparation 
for  another  push  forward  after  the  check  administered  at 
Krasnik,  were  in  readiness  to  inflict  a  heavy  blow  on  their  side 
of  the  Warsaw  salient.    When  it  began  the  German  lines  all 

23— War  St.  3 

352  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

along  the  front  burst  into  fresh  activity.  It  was  the  signal  for 
a  simultaneous  assault  along  nearly  a  thousand  miles  of  battle 

In  the  Mlawa  sector  to  the  north  of  Przasnysz  the  Russians 
had  developed  an  exceedingly  strong  system  of  fortified 
positions  between  their  advance  lines  and  the  Narew  fortresses. 
For  miles,  to  a  depth  of  from  fifteen  to  twenty  kilometers,  there 
ran  some  three  or  four  and  at  certain  points  even  five  systems 
of  trenches,  one  behind  the  other.  Hundreds  of  thousands  of 
thick  tree  trunks  had  been  worked  into  these  defensive  works 
and  millions  of  sand  bags  piled  up  as  breastwork.  Bombproof 
dugouts  had  been  constructed  deep  in  the  ground.  Everywhere 
there  were  strong  wire  entanglements  before  the  front,  some- 
times sunk  below  the  level  of  the  earth,  arranged  in  from  two 
to  three  rows.  Projecting  bastions  and  thoroughly  protected 
observation  posts  gave  these  systems  of  trenches  the  character 
of  permanent  fortifications. 

The  country  in  this  region  is  hilly,  with  here  and  there  steep 
declivities  and  peaks  of  considerable  elevation.  The  Russians 
had  cut  down  whole  stretches  of  forest  in  order  to  afford  them 
a  free  field  for  their  fire  and  an  opportunity  to  observe  the 
advance  of  their  opponents.  Enveloping  tactics  on  the  part  of 
the  Germans  were  here  quite  excluded  as  the  two  lines  ran 
uninterruptedly  close  to  one  another.  Przasnysz  which  had 
become  a  heap  of  ruins  had  been  converted  virtually  into  a 
fortress  by  strong  defensive  works  built  while  the  Germans  and 
Russians  lay  opposite  each  other  in  front  of  it  throughout  the 
spring.  The  country  round  about  had  been  drenched  with  much 
German  and  Russian  blood. 

General  von  Gallwitz,  to  capture  a  place  with  the  least  possible 
loss,  decided  to  break  through  the  Russian  defenses  at  two  points 
at  both  sides  of  the  town  sufficiently  close  to  each  other  so  that 
the  intervening  lines  would  be  immediately  affected.  His  attacks 
were  therefore  directed  at  the  first  line  Russian  positions,  which 
formed  projecting  angles  to  the  northwest  and  northeast  of 
Przasnysz  so  that  instead  of  taking  the  city  directly  from  the 
front  he  would  seize  it  as  with  a  gigantic  pair  of  pincers  from 


both  sides  and  behind.  The  plan  succeeded  to  the  full.  The  Rus- 
sian lines  were  broken  on  both  sides  of  the  city  and  the  German 
troops,  rushing  through,  met  behind  it,  forcing  the  Russian  de- 
fenders hastily  to  evacuate  the  place  to  avoid  being  caught  within 
the  circle. 

Strong  infantry  forces  were  collected  opposite  the  points  of 
attack,  and  enormous  masses  of  artillery  were  placed  in  position 
with  abundance  of  ammunition  in  readiness.  The  preparations 
had  been  made  with  all  possible  secrecy  and  even  when  the  Ger- 
man batteries  had  begun  gradually  to  get  their  range  by  testing 
shots  no  serious  assault  seems  to  have  been  expected  by  the  Rus- 
sians. On  the  morning  of  the  attack  they  were  just  to  inaugurate 
service  on  a  small  passenger  railway  line  they  had  constructed 
behind  their  front. 

On  the  morning  of  July  13,  1915,  soon  after  sunrise,  a 
tremendous  cannonade  was  let  loose  from  guns  of  all  calibers. 
Although  the  weather  was  rainy  and  not  well  fitted  for  observa- 
tion the  German  guns  seem  to  have  found  their  marks  with 
great  accuracy.  When  the  German  infantry  stormed  the  first 
line  of  works  which  had  been  shattered  by  the  artillery  fire 
they  met  with  comparatively  little  resistance  and  their  losses 
were  small.  The  bombardment  apparently  had  done  its 
work  thoroughly.  The  German  infantry  rushes  were  started 
in  successive  intervals  of  a  quarter  of  an  hour,  line  fol- 
lowing line.  Swarms  of  unarmed  Russians  could  be  seen 
coming  out  of  the  trenches  seeking  to  save  themselves  from 
the  terrible  effect  of  the  shell  fire  by  surrendering.  During 
the  course  of  the  forenoon  the  sun  came  out  and  illuminated  a 
scene  of  terrific  destruction.  The  Russian  positions  on  the 
heights  northwest  of  Przasnysz  had  been  completely  leveled.  In 
their  impetuous  forward  rush  the  German  troops  did  not  give 
the  enemy  time  to  make  a  stand  in  his  second  line  of  trenches^ 
and  overrunning  this,  by  night  began  to  enter  the  third  Russian 
defensive  line.  Przasnysz  was  flanked  in  the  course  of  twenty- 
four  hours  and  could  no  longer  be  held.  A  fine  rain  was  falling 
as  the  German  columns  marched  through  the  deserted,  smoke- 
blackened  city,  a  melancholy  setting  for  a  victory. 

354  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

On  July  14,  1915,  the  German  troops  had  broken  through  on 
both  sides  of  the  city,  met  to  the  south  of  it  and  forming  a  mighy 
battering  ram,  on  the  next  day,  forced  the  next  Russian  line,  the 
last,  to  the  north  of  the  Narew.  This  ran  through  Wysogrod- 
Ciechanow-Zielona  to  Kranosiele.  The  Russians  here  made  a 
desperate  defense  and  the  German  advance  pushed  forward  but 
slowly.  The  effect  of  the  German  artillery  fire  seems  not  to  have 
been  as  striking  as  on  the  first  day  of  battle.  The  German 
report  of  the  attack  on  this  line  points  out  that  the  regiment  of 
the  Guard  holding  the  right  wing  of  a  division  which  was  to 
attack  the  heights  to  the  south  and  southeast  of  Zielona  was  im- 
patient to  go  forward,  and  was  allowed  to  advance  before  the 
reserves  which  were  to  be  held  in  readiness  to  support  the  move 
had  come  up. 

However,  confident  of  the  accuracy  with  which  the  "black 
brothers"  (shells  from  the  big  guns)  struck  the  enemy's 
trenches,  the  riflemen  leapt  forward  through  fields  of  grain  as 
soon  as  they  saw  that  a  gust  of  their  shells  had  struck  in  front 
of  them.  By  means  of  signs  which  been  agreed  upon  they  then 
signaled  their  new  positions  and  the  guns  laid  their  fire  another 
hundred  meters  farther  forward.  The  infantrjonen  then 
stormed  ahead  into  the  newly  made  shell  craters.  Thus  they 
went  forward  again  and  again.  Neither  Russian  fire  nor  the 
double  barbed  wire  entanglements  were  able  to  check  their 

As  the  German  shouts  rolled  forth  the  Russians  ran.  A 
neighboring  division  consisting  of  young  men  who  had  enlisted 
in  the  course  of  the  war,  in  a  brilliant  charge  took  a  bastion  at  | 
Klosnowo.  The  effect  of  this  first  penetration  of  the  Russian 
main  position  made  itself  felt  in  the  course  of  the  afternoon  and 
night  along  the  whole  front.  Further  German  forces  were 
thrown  into  the  breach  and  strove  to  widen  it. 

The  Russians  at  many  points  resisted  obstinately,  but  under 
the  pressure  from  the  front  and  in  the  flank  they  were  finally 
unable  to  hold  their  ground.  The  German  account  speaks  with 
admiration  of  the  ride  to  death  of  a  Russian  cavalry  brigade 
which  attacked  the  German  infantry  southeast  of  Opinozura 


without  achieving:  any  results.  Cossacks  and  Hussars  were 
mowed  down  in  an  instant. 

The  German  advance  taking  several  intermediate  places  did 
not  halt  until  it  stood  before  the  fortification  of  the  Narew 
line  itself.  As  a  result  of  this  stroke  the  German  troops  had 
advanced  some  forty  to  fifty  kilometers  into  hostile  territory  on 
a  breadth  of  a  hundred  and  twenty  kilometers  and  had  captured 
some  10,000  prisoners  and  much  war  material.  By  the  18th  of 
July,  1915,  German  trains  were  running  as  far  as  Ciechanow. 

Advances  were  likewise  made  by  the  Germans  to  the  right  of 
the  attack  on  the  Przasnysz  positions  on  both  sides  of  the  Mlawa- 
Ciechanow  Railway,  rolling  up  the  Russian  positions  as  far  as 
Plonsk.  On  the  left  progress  had  also  been  made  and  heavy 
fighting  done,  but  the  German  great  headquarters  pointed  out 
that  in  times  to  come  history  will  assign  the  important  place  to 
the  central  feature  of  this  great  offensive  by  General  von 
Gallwitz,  that  is  the  enveloping  attack  at  Przasnysz  and  the  ram- 
ming thrust  at  Zielona. 

The  report  issued  by  the  Russian  General  Staff  on  July  19, 
1915,  admitted  that  to  the  west  of  Omulev  their  troops  had  with- 
drawn to  the  Narew  bridgeheads  on  the  17th.  The  points  of 
some  of  the  German  columns  on  this  day,  in  fact,  came  within 
the  range  of  the  artillery  of  the  fortress  of  Novo-Georgievsk  and 
the  army  of  General  von  Scholtz  reached  the  line  of  the  Bobr 
and  the  Narew  between  Osowice  and  Ostrolenka.  The  action  at 
Przasnysz  had  been  decisive.  It  resulted  ultimately  in  the 
relinquishing  by  the  Russians  of  the  lines  of  the  Rawka  and 
Bzura  which  had  been  so  stubbornly  held  against  the  Germans 
in  the  long  defense  of  Warsaw.  The  troops  directly  charged 
here  with  defending  the  capital  fell  back  to  the  Blonie  lines 
about  fifteen  miles  from  the  city. 

356'  THE   STORY   OF   THE   GREAT   WAR 



THE  great  stroke  at  Przasnysz  was  the  most  dramatic  feature 
of  a  grand  offensive  all  around  the  German  lines  that  were 
endeavoring  to  close  in  upon  the  Russian  armies.  On  July  16, 
1915,  the  Archduke  Joseph  struck  hard  at  the  Russians  on  the 
Krasnik-Lublin  road  in  an  endeavor  to  carry  the  fortified 
positions  at  Wilkolaz.  His  men,  however,  were  thrown  back  after 
ten  furious  assaults.  Krasnostav,  on  the  road  to  Cholm,  was 
attacked  on  the  same  day  by  the  army  of  General  von  Macken- 
sen,  and  after  a  series  of  desperate  rear-guard  actions  had  been 
fought  by  the  Russians  was  swept  over  by  the  German  Allies. 
By  the  close  of  the  day  the  Germans  had  taken  twenty-eight 
officers,  6,380  men,  and  nine  machine  guns. 

The  Germans,  prepared  in  the  recent  pause  in  the  fighting,  by 
the  bringing  up  of  their  artillery  on  the  long  lines  of  com- 
munication which  now  stretched  behind  them,  with  troops  re- 
enforced  by  such  fresh  forces  as  they  could  muster,  were  hurling 
themselves  upon  the  Russian  defensive  positions  everywhere 
along  the  line.  Thus,  on  the  forenoon  of  July  17,  1915,  the 
army  of  General  von  Woyrsch,  whose  objective  was  the  mighty 
fortress  Ivangorod,  operating  just  to  the  west  of  the  upper 
Vistula,  broke  through  the  Russian  wire  entanglements  and 
stormed  the  enemy's  trenches  on  a  stretch  of  2,000  meters.  The 
breach  was  widened  in  desperate  hand-to-hand  combat.  The 
Teutons  by  evening  inflicted  a  heavy  defeat  on  the  Moscow 
Grenadier  Corps  at  this  point  and  the  Russians  were  forced  to 
retreat  behind  the  Ilzanka  to  the  south  of  Swolen.  Some  2,000 
men  were  taken  prisoners  by  the  Germans  in  this  battle  and  five 
machine  guns  were  captured. 

Far  in  the  northeast  in  Courland  the  army  of  General  von 
Billow,  on  July  17,  1915,  defeated  Russian  forces  that  had  been 
rushed  up  at  Alt-Auz,  taking  3,620  prisoners,  six  cannon  and 



three  machine  guns,  and  pursuing  the  Slavs  in  an  easterly- 
direction.  Desperate  fighting  was  also  taking  place  to  the  north- 
east of  Kurschany. 

Notes  of  anxiety  mixed  with  consoling  speculations  had  begun 
to  appear  in  the  press  of  the  allied  countries  when  the  vast  Ger- 
man offensive  had  thus  become  plainly  revealed  and  had  demon- 
strated its  driving  force.  A  Petrograd  dispatch  to  the  London 
"Morning  Post"  on  the  15th  of  July,  1915,  said  of  the  German 
plan  that  it  was  to  catch  the  Russian  armies  like  a  nut  between 
nut  crackers,  that  the  two  fronts  moving  up  from  north  and  south 
were  intended  to  meet  on  another  and  grind  everything  between 
them  to  powder.  The  area  between  the  attacking  forces  was 
some  eighty  miles  in  extent,  north  to  south,  by  120  miles  west 
to  east.  The  writer  offered  the  consolation  that  this  space  was 
well  fortified,  the  kernel  of  the  nut  "sound  and  healthy,  being 
formed  of  the  Russian  armies,  inspired  not  merely  with  the 
righteousness  of  their  cause,  but  the  fullest  confidence  in  them- 
selves and  absolute  devotion  to  the  proved  genius  of  their  com' 
mander  in  chief." 

The  dispatch  pointed  out  that  it  was  all  sheer  frontal  fighting, 
that  the  Germans  had  been  twelve  months  trying  frontal  attacks^ 
against  Warsaw  on  a  comparatively  narrow  front  and  in  vain. 
What  chance  had  they,  he  added,  "of  success  by  dividing  their 
forces  against  the  united  strength  of  Russia."  This  sort  of 
argument  is  typical  of  the  endeavor  to  sustain  the  hopes  of 
Russia's  friends  during  these  days.  Doubts,  however,  began 
to  creep  in  more  strongly  as  to  the  possibility  of  holding 

In  Berlin  the  announcement  of  the  Teutonic  victories  that 

jgan  with  the  successful  assault  at  Przasnysz  was  received  with 
general  rejoicing,  and  the  appearance  of  flags  all  over  the  city. 

le  Russian  retreat  toward  the  Narew  River  in  particular  was 

jgarded  by  the  military  critics  as  threatening  momentarily  to 
crumble  up  the  right  flank  of  the  positions  of  the  Russians  before 

le  capital  of  Poland. 
Cholm  and  Lublin  on  the  southern  line  of  communication  of 

LB  Russian  armies  were  now  in  imminent  danger.    On  July  19, 



»  >  »  *-   RAILROADS 

I  I  1  I 

5  [O         15 



1915,  came  the  announcement  that  the  troops  under  Field  Mar- 
shal von  Mackensen,  which  had  pierced  the  Russian  line  in  the 
region  of  Pilaskowice  and  Krasnostav,  had  increased  their  suc- 
cesses, and  that  the  Russians  were  making  the  most  desperate 
effort  to  prevent  complete  defeat.  All  day  the  battle  had  swayed 
in  a  fierce  struggle  for  mastery.  The  Russians  threw  a  fresh 
division  of  the  Guards  into  the  fight,  but  this  too  had  to  yield  to 
the  overwhelming  force  of  the  Teuton  onslaught.  Farther  to  the 
east  as  far  as  the  neighborhood  of  Grabowiec,  Austro-Hungarian 
and  German  troops  forced  the  crossing  of  the  Wolica,  and  near 
Sokal  in  Galicia  Austro-Hungarian  troops  crossed  the  Bug.  (See 
Austro-Russian  Campaign.)  In  consequence  of  these  Teuton 
successes  the  Russians  on  the  night  of  the  18th  to  the  19th  of 
July  retreated  along  the  whole  front  between  the  Vistula  and  the 
Bug — practically  the  last  line  of  defense,  for  the  Warsaw-Kiev 
railway  had  been  broken  down.  The  German  troops  and  the 
corps  under  the  command  of  Field  Marshal  von  Arz  alone  from 
the  15th  to  the  18th  of  July,  1915,  took  16,250  prisoners  and  23 
machine  guns. 

It  was  announced  by  the  Germans  that  according  to  written 
orders  captured  during  this  action  the  Russian  leaders  had  re- 
solved to  hold  the  positions  here  conquered  by  the  Germans  to 
the  utmost,  regardless  of  losses. 

The  same  day  that  brought  the  report  of  this  Russian  retreat 
on  the  south  brought  the  news  that  in  the  adjoining  sector  to  the 
west  of  the  Upper  Vistula  the  army  of  General  von  Woyrsch  had 
met  resistance  from  the  Russians  behind  the  Ilzanka  after  the 
Russian  defeat  on  July  13,  1915,  that,  however,  Silesian  Land- 
wehr  on  the  18th  had  captured  the  Russian  defenses  at  Ciepilovo 
by  storm,  and  that  the  Russian  line  at  Kasonow  and  Barenow 
was  beginning  to  yield.  The  army  of  General  von  Gallwitz  had 
now  taken  up  positions  along  the  whole  Narew  line  from  south- 
west of  Ostrolenka  to  Novo  Georgievsk.  The  Russians,  how* 
ever,  as  already  indicated,  were  still  holding  fortified  places  and 
bridgeheads  on  the  right  bank  of  the  river.  In  this  sector  the 
number  of  prisoners  taken  by  the  Germans  had  risen  to  101 
officers  and  28,760  men. 

360  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

In  the  sector  next  adjoining,  passing  onward  around  the  en- 
veloping lines,  that  lying  between  the  Pissa  and  the  Szkwa,  the 
Russians  likewise  had  retreated  until  they  stood  directly  on  the 
Narew.  Here  the  Slavs  had  been  favored  by  forests  and  swampy 
land  which  made  pursuit  difficult. 

At  the  extreme  left  end  of  the  German  line  a  magnificent  suc- 
cess had  been  achieved  in  the  occupation  of  Tukkum  and  Windau. 
This  capture  brought  the  Germans  to  within  fifty  miles  of  Riga, 
seat  of  the  governor  general  of  the  Baltic  provinces.  They  were, 
however,  destined  not  to  make  any  substantial  progress  in  the 
direction  of  that  city  for  many  months  to  come. 

Blow  fell  upon  blow.  The  question  "Can  Warsaw  be  held?" 
began  to  receive  doubtful  answers  in  the  allied  capitals.  The 
colossal  coordinate  movement  of  the  Teutonic  forces  in  these 
July  days  had  received  so  little  check  from  the  Russian  resistance 
that  the  British  press  had  begun  to  discount  the  fall  of  the 
Polish  capital.  Shortness  of  ammunition  and  artillery  was 
ascribed  as  the  cause  of  Russia's  failure  to  make  a  successful 
stand  against  the  onrushing  Teutons. 

On  July  20,  1915,  Berlin  announced  the  capture  of  those  forti- 
fications of  Ostrolenka  lying  on  the  northwest  bank  of  the 
Narew  River.  This  was  one  of  the  strong  places  designed  to  pro- 
tect the  Warsaw-Grodno-Petrograd  railway.  The  threatened 
fall  was  highly  significant.  To  the  south  of  the  Vistula  the 
Teuton  troops  had  advanced  to  the  Blonie-Grojec  lines.  Blonie 
is  some  seventeen  miles  west  of  Warsaw  and  Grojec  twenty-six 
miles  south  of  the  city. 

Farther  eastward  and  to  the  south  troops  of  the  army  of  Gen- 
eral von  Woyrsch  had  completely  turned  the  enemy  out  of  the 
Ilzanka  positions,  having  repulsed  the  counterattacks  of  the 
Russian  reserves  which  had  been  quickly  brought  up,  and  cap- 
tured more  than  5,000  prisoners.  Von  Woyrsch"s  cavalry  had 
now  reached  the  railway  line  from  Radom  to  the  great  fortress 
of  Ivangorod,  the  objective  point  of  this  army,  and  Radom  itself 
had  been  seized. 

BEGINNING    OF   THE    END  .,361 



SO  uncertain  had  grown  the  positions  of  Lublin  on  the  south- 
em  railway  line  leading  to  Warsaw  that  the  Russian  com- 
mander in  chief  had  issued  an  order  that  in  case  of  a  retreat  the 
male  population  of  the  town  was  to  attach  itself  to  the  retiring 

On  July  21,  1915,  the  Russians  throughout  the  empire  were 
reported  to  be  joining  in  prayer.  "Yesterday  evening,"  tele- 
graphed the  London  "Daily  Mail's"  Petrograd  correspondent  on 
the  21st,  "the  bells  in  all  the  churches  throughout  Russia  clanged 
a  call  to  prayer  for  a  twenty-four  hours'  continual  service  of 
intercession  for  victory. 

"To-day,  in  spite  of  the  heat,  the  churches  were  packed.  Hour 
after  hour  the  people  stand  wedged  together  while  the  priests 
and  choirs  chant  interminable  litanies.  Outside  the  Kamian 
Cathedral  here  an  open-air  Mass  is  being  celebrated  in  the  pres- 
ence of  an  enormous  crowd." 

The  chronicle  of  the  closing  days  of  July,  1915,  is  an  un- 
broken narrative  of  forward  movements  of  German  armies  on 
all  parts  of  the  great  semicircle.  The  movement  now,  however, 
was  slow.  The  Russians  were  fighting  desperately,  and  the 
Germans  had  to  win  their  way  inch  by  inch.  By  the  21st  the 
Russians  were  withdrawing  in  Courland  to  the  east  of  the  line 
Popeljany-Kurtschany,  and  the  last  Russian  trenches  westward 
of  Shavly  had  been  taken  by  assault.  To  the  north  of  Novgorod 
the  capture  of  Russian  positions  had  yielded  2,000  prisoners  and 
two  machine  guns  to  the  Germans  on  the  20th. 

Farther  south  on  the  Narew  a  strong  work  of  the  fortress 
Rozan  defending  an  important  crossing  was  stormed  by  the 
Germans,  and  desperate  fighting  was  going  on  at  Pultusk  and 
near  Georgievsk.  Already  the  Russians  were  beginning  to  yield 
their  positions  to  the  west  of  Grojec,  which  meant  that  the 
Teuton  armies  were  about  to  push  into  the  opening  between 

362  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Warsaw  and  Ivangorod  and  divide  the  Russian  forces.  The 
armies  of  Von  Woyrsch  on  July  20,  1915,  seized  a  projecting 
bridgehead  to  the  south  of  Ivangorod,  and  captured  the  Hnes  that 
had  been  held  by  the  Russians  near  Wladislavow. 

In  the  positions  defending  the  railway  between  Cholm  and 
Lublin,  Russian  resistance  was  once  more  marked,  and  was 
checking  the  progress  of  the  armies  of  Von  Mackensen  and  Arch- 
duke Joseph  Ferdinand. 

By  noon  of  July  21,  1915,  the  Silesian  troops  of  Von  Woyrsch 
had  stormed  the  bridgehead  on  the  Vistula  between  Lagow  and 
Lugawa-Wola,  with  the  result  that  Ivangorod  was  now  inclosed 
from  the  south,  while  to  northwest  of  the  fortress  Austro-Hun- 
garian  troops  were  lighting  on  the  west  bank  of  the  Vistula. 
Austro-Hungarian  troops  too  were  battling  their  way  close  up  to 
the  fortress  directly  from  the  west.  Line  after  line  was  giving 
way  before  the  Teutons.  The  Russian  retreat  over  the  bridge  at 
Novo  Alexandria  to  the  south  of  Ivangorod  was  carried  on  under 
the  fire  of  German  artillery.  Numerous  villages  set  afire  by  the 
Russians  were  now  sending  great  clouds  of  smoke  into  the  sky 
over  all  this  region. 

The  troops  of  the  Archduke  Joseph  Ferdinand,  after  a  stub- 
born resistance  on  the  part  of  the  Russians,  seized  enemy  posi- 
tions on  July  21,  1915,  near  Chodel  and  Borzechow,  ad- 
vancing another  step  toward  Lublin.  Eight  thousand  Russian 
prisoners,  15  machine  guns,  and  4  ammunition  wagons  were 

By  the  23d  of  July,  1915,  the  Teutonic  troops  were  close  up  to 
the  encircling  forts  of  Ivangorod  and  stood  on  the  Vistula  all  the 
way  between  the  fortress  and  the  mouth  of  the  Pilica.  On  the 
24th  the  Teutons  announced  a  victory  over  the  Fifth  Russian 
Army  by  General  von  Biilow  at  Shavli.  The  report  read :  "After 
ten  days  of  continuous  fighting,  marching,  and  pursuit,  the  Ger- 
man troops  yesterday  succeeded  in  brmging  the  Russians  to  a 
stand  in  the  regions  of  Rozalin  and  Szadow  and  in  defeating  them 
and  scattering  their  forces.  The  booty  since  the  beginning  of  this 
operation  on  the  14th  of  July  consists  of  27,000  prisoners,  25 
cannon,  40  machine  guns,  more  than  100  loaded  ammunition 

BEGINNING    OF    THE    END  363 

wagons  with  their  draft  animals,  numerous  baggage  wagons  and 
other  material." 

This  day  brought  the  announcement  also  of  the  capture  of  the 
fortresses  of  Rozan  and  Pultusk  on  the  Narew,  after  violent 
charges  by  troops  of  General  von  Gallwitz.  The  crossing  of  the 
Narew  between  these  places  was  now  in  German  hands,  and 
strong  forces  were  advancing  on  the  southern  shore.  The  Rus- 
sians had  been  resisting  obstinately  in  this  quarter,  and  the  Ger- 
mans had  made  their  way  only  by  the  most  heroic  efforts.  Ger- 
man headquarters  announced  at  this  time  that  in  the  battles 
between  the  Niemen  and  the  Vistula  covering  the  ten  days  since 
July  14,  1915,  more  than  41,000  prisoners,  14  cannon,  and  19  ma- 
chine guns  had  been  captured.  The  German  troops  now  also 
attained  the  Vistula  to  the  north  of  the  Pilica.  In  their  summing 
up  of  results  since  the  14th  of  July  the  Teutons  recounted 
further  on  this  day,  the  24th,  that  some  50,000  prisoners  had 
been  taken  by  the  armies  of  General  von  Woyrsch  and  Field 
Marshal  von  Mackensen  during  the  period. 

The  army  of  Archduke  Joseph  Ferdinand  had  been  making 
rapid  progress.  On  July  24,  1915,  under  the  attacks  of  these 
troops  the  Russians  retreated  on  a  front  of  forty  kilometers, 
between  the  Vistula  and  the  Bistritza,  from  eight  to  ten  kilo- 
meters northward  to  prepared  lines,  their  attempts  to  halt  in 
intermediate  positions  being  frustrated  by  the  onrush  of  the 
victorious  Teutonic  forces  in  pursuit. 

By  July  25,  1915,  the  Narew  had  been  crossed  by  the  Germans 
along  its  whole  front,  southward  from  Ostrolenka  to  Pultusk, 
and  by  the  26th  they  had  gained  the  farther  side  of  the  Narew 
above  Ostrolenka  likewise.  The  troops  moving  southeast  from 
Pultusk  now  approached  the  Bug,  getting  toward  the  rear  of 
Novo  Georgievsk  and  Warsaw,  and  threatening  to  close  the 
Russians'  Hne  of  escape,  the  Warsaw-Bielostok  railway. 

On  July  26,  1915,  the  Russians  made  a  determined  counter- 
offensive  from  the  line  of  Goworowo-Wyszkow-Serock  in  an 
effort  to  remove  the  threat  to  the  rear  of  Warsaw.  This,  how- 
ever, had  little  success,  the  Hp'^'sians  losing  3,319  men  to  the 
Germans  in  prisoners. 

364  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

To  the  south  of  Warsaw  the  Germans  had  seized  the  villages 
of  Ustanov,  Lbiska,  and  Jazarzew,  which  brought  them  nearly 
to  the  Vistula,  just  below  the  capital. 

The  great  attacks  of  the  Germans  on  the  troops  defending 
Warsaw  were  being  hampered  to  some  extent  by  the  laying  waste 
of  the  country  by  the  retiring  Russians.  Difficulty  in  moving 
heavy  artillery  on  roads  had  also  interfered  with  their  progress, 
but  on  the  morning  of  July  28,  1915,  Von  Woyrsch  crossed  to  the 
eastern  shore  of  the  Vistula  between  the  mouth  of  the  Pilica  and 
Kozienice  at  several  places,  and  was  threatening  the  Warsaw- 
Ivangorod  railway. 

Novo  Georgievsk  was  steadily  being  inclosed.  The  Russian 
counterthrusts  in  the  neighborhood  of  Warsaw  both  on  the  north 
and  the  south  of  the  city  were  repelled  by  night  and  day.  To  the 
south  near  Gora-Kalvaria  a  desperate  attempt  of  the  Russians 
to  push  forward  toward  the  west  on  the  night  from  July  27th  to 
the  28th,  1915,  was  shattered. 

The  armies  of  Field  Marshal  von  Mackensen,  breaking 
through  Russian  positions  to  the  west  of  the  Wieprz,  captured 
thousands  of  prisoners  and  many  guns,  and  once  more  thrust 
back  the  Russian  front  between  the  Vistula  and  the  Bug.  On 
the  evening  of  the  29th  they  attained  the  Warsaw-Kiev  railway 
at  Biskupice,  about  halfway  between  Lublin  and  Cholm,  thus 
crowning  their  efforts  to  get  astride  their  important  line  of  com- 
munications. The  Russians  were  destroying  everything  of  value 
in  the  country  as  they  retired,  even  burning  grain  in  the  fields. 

On  the  afternoon  of  July  30,  1915,  Lublin  at  last  was  occupied 
by  the  army  of  the  Archduke  Joseph  Ferdinand,  and  on  the  31st 
the  Germans  of  Von  Mackensen  passed  through  Cholm.  Thus 
the  Teutonic  armies  were  now  across  the  important  railway 
from  Warsaw  and  Ivangorod  to  Kiev,  on  a  broad  front,  running 
all  the  way  down  to  the  Vistula  at  Novo  Alexandria.  In  Cour- 
land  the  Germans  continued  to  push  forward,  so  that  on  the  12th 
of  August  they  were  enabled  to  seize  the  important  railway 
center  Mistan. 

Hope  in  Russia  died  hard.  Press  correspondents  up  to  July 
29,  1915,  still  spoke  of  the  possibility  of  the  Russians  standing  a 


siege  in  their  principal  fortress  on  the  Warsaw  saHent.  On  the 
29th,  however,  reports  came  from  Petrograd  that  the  fortresses 
of  the  Warsaw  defense  were  to  be  abandoned  and  the  capital  of 
Poland  given  up  to  the  army. 

The  correspondent  of  the  New  York  "Times"  on  July  29,  1915, 
in  a  special  cable  summed  up  the  situation  in  an  announce- 
ment that  the  fate  of  Europe  hung  on  the  decision  that  Russia 
might  make  on  the  question :  "Shall  Russia  settle  down  to  a  war 
of  position  in  her  vast  fortifications  around  Warsaw,  or  shall  she 
continue  to  barter  space  against  time,  withdrawing  from  the  line 
of  the  Vistula  and  points  on  it  of  both  strategic  and  political 
importance,  in  order  to  gain  the  time  which  Germany  has  already 
stored  in  the  form  of  inexhaustible  gun  munitions?"  The  reply 
was  the  evacuation  of  Warsaw. 

The  decisive  blow  to  Russia's  hopes  came  with  the  crossing  of 
the  Vistula  about  twenty  miles  north  of  Ivangorod  on  July  28, 
1915,  already  noted.  It  showed  that  Warsaw  was  being  rapidly 
surrounded.  The  Russian  communique  of  the  30th  of  July  told 
of  the  crossing  over  of  the  Teutons  on  both  sides  of  the  Radomka, 
a  tributary  of  the  Vistula,  to  the  right  bank  of  the  Vistula  on 
pontoons,  and  of  attempts  to  throw  bridges  across  the  great 
rivers.  Von  Woyrsch's  troops  that  had  crossed  over  were  irre- 
sistibly pursuing  still  farther  east  on  the  30th,  defeating  troops 
hastily  brought  up  to  stop  their  advance.  By  August  1  two  entire 
German  army  corps  reached  the  right  bank  of  the  Vistula.  Ivan- 
gorod, now  threatened  from  all  directions,  could  evidently  not  be 
held  much  longer. 

The  fortress  surrendered  on  August  4,  1915,  after  a  violent 
bombardment  of  the  outer  forts  had  taken  place,  beginning  on 
the  first  of  the  month.  Austro-Hungarian  troops  under  General 
von  Koevess  especially  distinguished  themrelves  in  the  attack  ^^ 
the  west  front. 

866  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 



THE  retreat  from  Warsaw  began  during  the  night  of  August 
3  and  4,  1915.  Already  the  city  had  been  stripped  as  far  as 
possible,  to  judge  by  reports  from  Petrograd,  of  metals,  such  as 
church  bells  and  machinery  that  might  possibly  be  of  use  to  the 
Germans.  A  portion  of  the  civilian  population  left  the  city.  The 
Blonie  line  just  to  the  west  of  the  capital  was  given  up  under 
pressure  from  the  Teutons  on  the  3d.  While  the  retreat  was 
taking  place  the  Russians  gave  all  possible  support  to  their  forces 
defending  the  Narew  lines,  so  far  as  ^hey  still  were  maintained. 

Desperate  charges  were  hurled  by  the  Russians  against  the 
Germans  moving  forward  all  along  the  front  Lowza-Ostrow- 
Wyszkow.  The  bravery  of  the  Russians,  especially  in  their 
counterattacks  on  both  sides  of  the  road  from  Rozan  to  Ostrow 
on  the  4th  of  August,  won  the  admiration  of  the  Germans. 

The  correspondent  of  the  London  "Times"  reports  that  on 
August  4,  1915,  there  was  probably  not  over  one  Russian  corps 
on  the  west  side  of  the  Vistula.  "Half  of  that  crossed  south  of 
Warsaw  before  6  p.  m.,"  he  writes,  "and  probably  the  last  divi- 
sion left  about  midnight,  and  at  3  a.  m.  on  August  5  the  bridges 
were  blown  up.  The  Germans  arrived  at  6  a.  m."  The  formal 
entry  of  the  Polish  capital  was  made  by  Prince  Leopold  of 
Bavaria  as  Commander  in  Chief  of  the  army  which  took  the  city. 

The  formal  announcement  issued  by  the  German  Great  Head- 
quarters on  the  5th  of  August  read :  "The  army  of  Prince  Leo- 
pold of  Bavaria  pierced  and  took  yesterday  and  last  night  the 
outer  and  inner  lines  of  forts  of  Warsaw  in  which  Russian  rear 
guards  still  offered  stubborn  resistance.  The  city  was  occupied 
to-day  by  our  troops." 

In  the  capture  of  Warsaw  seven  huge  armies  had  been  em^ 
ployed.  The  German  northern  army,  operating  against  the 
double-track  line  which  runs  from  Warsaw  to  Petrograd,  1,000 
miles  in  the  northeast,  via  Bielostok  and  Grodno;  the  army 

TiiiHiiiinMiiiiiiiMiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiini I 




0  lo      20      30     -"vo      so 

[FRONT   APRIL  I.  1^15 

1  FRONT   AU&.  SI9I5 

<  I 


24— War  St.  3 

368  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

operating  in  the  Suwalki  district,  threatening  the  same  line 
farther  west;  the  army  aimed  at  the  Narew  based  on  Mearva ;  the 
army  directly  aimed  at  Warsaw,  north  of  the  Vistula;  the 
(Ninth)  army  directly  aimed  at  Warsaw,  south  of  the  Vistula; 
ten  or  twelve  Austrian  army  corps  attempting  to  reach  the 
single-  and  double-track  railway  from  Ivangorod  to  Brest-Litovsl« 
and  Moscow,  and  the  line  from  Warsaw  to  Kiev  via  Lublin 
and  Cholm,  which  is  for  the  most  part  a  single  track,  and,  finally, 
the  army  of  Von  Linsingen,  operating  on  the  Lipa  east  of 

The  campaign  for  Warsaw  had  been  fought  along  a  front  of 
1,000  miles,  extending  from  the  Baltic  to  the  frontier  of  Ru- 
mania. An  estimate  which  lays  claim  to  being  based  upon 
authoritative  figures  placed  the  number  of  men  engaged  in 
almost  daily  conflict  on  this  long  line  at  between  6,000,000  and 
7,000,000.  The  attacks  upon  the  sides  of  the  lines  on  which  the 
defense  of  Warsaw  depended  had  been  the  most  furious  in  the 
course  of  the  war  on  the  eastern  front.  The  losses  on  both  sides 
undoubtedly  were  enormous,  though  they  can  be  ascertained 
only  with  difficulty,  if  at  all. 

The  following  summary  of  captures  was  issued  by  the  German 
Great  Headquarters  on  August  1,  1915:  "Captured  in  July  be- 
tween the  Baltic  and  the  Pilica,  95,023  Russians ;  41  guns,  includ- 
ing two  heavy  ones ;  4  mine  throwers ;  230  machine  guns.  Taken 
in  July  in  the  southeastern  theatre  of  war  (apparently  between 
Pilica  and  the  Rumanian  frontier)  :  323  officers ;  75,719  men ;  10 
guns;  126  machine  guns." 




IN  discussing  the  causes  of  the  Great  War  in  Vol.  I 
we  have  already  shown  how  important  a  part  the  little 
Balkan  States  played  in  the  long  chain  of  events  leading  up  to 
the  final  catastrophe.  When  two  mighty  lords  come  to  blows 
over  the  right  of  way  through  the  fields  of  their  peasant  neigh- 
bors, it  is  only  natural  that  the  peasants  themselves  should  be 
deeply  concerned.  While  it  is  not  likely  that  any  of  them  would 
feel  especially  friendly  toward  either  of  the  belligerents,  it  might, 
however,  be  to  their  advantage  to  take  a  hand  in  the  struggle  on 
the  side  of  the  victor.  But  until  each  thought  he  had  picked  the 
V^inner  he  would  hold  aloof. 

This  was,  in  fact,  the  situation  of  all  the  Balkan  States  when 
the  Great  War  began,  with  the  exception,  of  course,  of  Serbia, 
which  had  been  directly  attacked.  Rumania,  Bulgaria,  and  Greece 
very  hastily  announced  their  complete  neutrality  to  each  other 
as  well  as  to  the  world  at  large,  though  Greece  was  in  the  very 
awkward  position  of  having  signed  a  defensive  treaty  with 

Though  the  Balkan  situation  has  always  been  considered  very 
complicated,  certain  broad  facts  may  be  laid  down  which  will 
serve  as  a  key  to  a  fair  understanding  of  the  motives  behind  each 
of  the  various  moves  being  made  on  the  Balkan  chess  board. 

First  of  all,  it  must  be  realized  that  popular  sentiment  plays 
a  much  smaller  part  in  Balkan  politics  than  it  does  in  such 
countries  as  England,  France  and  our  own  country.    Though 

870  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

each  is  more  or  less  democratic  in  form,  none  of  these  govern- 
ments is  really  controlled  by  its  people  in  matters  requiring  such 
quick  decisions  as  war.  At  the  head  of  each  of  the  Balkan  States 
is  a  monarch  surrounded  by  a  governing  clique  who  have  full 
authority  in  military  matters.  Each  of  these  cliques  has  only 
one  aim  in  mind :  How  shall  it  increase  the  area  of  its  territory, 
or  at  least  save  itself  frr^m  losing  any  of  what  it  already  con- 

Rumania,  being  of  Latin  blood,  has  no  natural  affinity  with 
either  of  the  big  fighting  powers  that  concern  her:  Austria  or 
Russia.  In  her  case,  therefore,  sympathy  may  be  entirely 
eliminated.  She  does,  however,  covet  a  piece  of  Austrian  ter- 
ritoiy,  Transylvania,  in  which  there  is  a  substantial  Rumanian 
population  which  has  always  been  rather  badly  treated  by  Austria. 

Bulgaria,  like  Russia,  is  Slavic.  Added  to  that,  Bulgaria  owes 
her  freedom  to  Russian  arms.  Because  of  these  two  reasons 
there  is  a  very  strong  sentiment  among  the  people  in  favor  of 
Russia.  Russian  political  intrigues  during  the  past  thirty  years 
have  done  a  great  deal,  however,  in  undermining  this  kindly 
feeling  among  the  more  intelligent  Bulgarians.  And  then  Rus- 
sia's ambition  to  possess  herself  of  the  Bosphorus  as  an  outlet 
into  the  Mediterranean  is  directly  contrary  to  the  ambitions  of 
the  governing  clique  of  Bulgaria,  which  also  has  its  eyes  on 

Toward  the  Austrians  the  Bulgarians  feel  nothing  but  dislike: 
"Schwabs,"  they  call  them  contemptuously.  Moreover,  Austria's 
contemplated  pathway  to  Saloniki  would  cut  down  through 
Macedonia,  another  territory  coveted  by  Bulgaria.  Ferdinand, 
King  of  Bulgaria,  however,  is  a  German  by  birth  and  training. 

Greece,  like  Rumania,  is  also  racially  isolated.  She  fears 
Russia  for  the  same  reason  that  Bulgaria  does ;  Greece  is  deter- 
mined that  Constantinople  shall  one  day  be  hers.  And  she  fears 
Austria  because  Austria's  pathway  would  even  take  Saloniki 
from  her.  And  finally  she  fears  Italy  because  Italy  has  ambitions 
in  Asia  Minor  and  Albania.  All  the  belligerents  seem  to  be 
treading  on  the  toes  of  Greece. 

It  will  be  seen,  therefore,  that  the  diplomatic  game  was  an 
especially  delicate  one  in  the  Balkans.     Being  comparatively 


weak,  these  small  states  cannot  fight  alone  for  themselves.  Their 
selfish  ambitions,  or  of  their  governing  cliques  rather,  make  a 
combination  impossible.  Their  only  chance  is  to  bargain  with 
the  winner  at  the  right  moment. 

During  the  first  half  year  of  the  war  there  was  very  little  for 
the  Balkan  diplomats  to  do  but  lie  low  and  watch ;  watch  for  the 
first  signs  of  weakening  of  either  the  Allies  or  the  Teutons.  To 
be  sure,  Turkey  threw  in  her  lot  with  the  Teutons  during  this 
period,  but  German  control  of  the  Turkish  machinery  of  govern- 
ment and  the  army  appears  to  have  been  so  strong  that  it 
seems  doubtful  whether  Turkish  initiative  was  much  of  a  factor 
in  the  move. 

One  of  the  first  moves  by  the  Teutonic  Powers  through  Aus- 
tria-Hungary was  the  attempted  invasion  of  Serbia,  by  which 
they  hoped  to  eliminate  her  from  the  field  and  also  to  swing  the 
other  Balkan  States,  especially  Bulgaria,  over  to  their  side.  And 
had  Austria  succeeded  in  penetrating  the  peninsula  through 
Serbia,  there  can  hardly  be  any  doubt  that  the  effect  would  have 
been  immediate. 

But  the  invasion  by  Austria,  attempted  three  times,  was  an 
abject  failure.  At  the  end  of  five  months  a  whole  Austrian  army 
corps  had  been  annihilated  by  the  Serbians  and  the  rest  of  the 
huge  invading  armies  had  been  driven  back  across  the  Danube 
and  Save.  Following  close  upon  this  came  the  extraordinary  suc- 
cess of  the  Russians  in  Bukowina  and  in  the  Carpathians,  which 
placed  Hungary  in  immediate  danger  of  being  invaded.  The 
cause  of  the  Allies  began  to  look  promising  and  the  machinery  of 
Balkan  diplomacy  began  slowly  to  revolve. 

Meanwhile  the  principal  efforts  of  the  Entente  statesmen  had 
been  directed  toward  effecting  a  reconciliation  between  Bulgaria 
and  the  other  Balkan  States  which,  she  maintained,  had  robbed 
her  of  Macedonia.  Indeed,  it  may  well  be  said  that  the  Treaty 
of  Bucharest,  whereby  the  Macedonian  Bulgars  were  largely 
handed  over  to  Serbia,  and  Greece  was,  and  continued  to  be,  the 
main  stumblingblock  in  the  path  of  the  Allies  to  bring  Bulgaria 
around  to  a  union  with  Serbia  and  Greece  and  Rumania,  for 
Rumania  had  also  picked  Bulgaria's  pockets  while  she  was  down, 

372  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

by  taking  a  strip  of  territory  at  the  mouth  of  the  Danube.  In 
this  she  had  not  even  had  the  excuse  of  reclaiming  her  own 
people,  for  here  were  none  but  pure  Bulgarians. 

In  January,  1915,  Rumania  began  to  show  signs  of  shaping 
a  definite  policy  that  might  later  lead  her  to  taking  sides.  Her 
King,  Carol,  a  Hohenzollem  by  blood,  had  died  shortly  after 
the  war  and  his  nephew,  Ferdinand,  ascended  the  throne  on 
October  11,  1914.  Possibly  he  may  have  had  something  to  do 
with  the  change.  At  any  rate,  though  Rumania  had  previously 
accepted  financial  assistance  from  Austria,  in  January  she  re- 
ceived a  loan  of  several  millions  from  Great  Britain,  most  of 
which  was  spent  on  the  army,  then  partly  mobilized. 

At  the  same  time  negotiations  of  a  tentative  nature  were 
opened  by  the  Foreign  Office  with  Russia  offering  to  throw  the 
Rumanian  troops  into  the  conflict  on  the  side  of  the  Allies  for  a 
certain  consideration.  This  consideration  was  that  she  receive 
Bukowina,  part  of  the  province  of  Banat,  and  certain  sections 
of  Bessarabia  populated  by  Rumanians.  The  Allies  considered 
these  demands  extortionate,  and  the  negotiations  were  pro- 
tracted. When  the  Austrians  and  Germans,  later  in  the  spring, 
succeeded  in  driving  the  Russians  out  of  the  Carpathians, 
Rumania  hastily  dropped  these  negotiations  and  seated  herself 
more  firmly  on  top  of  the  fence.  And  so,  under  the  guidance  of 
Bratiano,  her  prime  minister,  she  has  continued  throughout  the 
whole  year,  listening  to  proposals,  first  from  one  side,  then  from 
the  other,  but  always  carefully  maintaining  her  neutral  position. 

Bulgaria  had,  at  about  the  same  time,  accepted  a  loan  from 
Germany.  Attempts  were  made  at  the  time  to  explain  away 
the  political  significance  of  the  transaction  by  representing  the 
advance  as  an  installment  of  a  loan  the  terms  of  which  had 
been  arranged  before  the  beginning  of  the  war,  but  the  essen- 
tial fact  was  that  the  cash  came  from  Germany  at  a  time 
when  she  was  herself  calling  in  all  the  gold  of  her  people  into  the 
Imperial  treasury. 

Bulgaria  now  plainly  let  it  be  understood  under  what  condi- 
tions she  would  join  a  union  of  the  Balkan  neutrals  against  the 
Teutonic  Powers.    Her  premier,  Radoslavov,  head  of  the  Bui- 



garian  Liberal  Party,  whose  policy  has  always  been  anti-Rus- 
sian, is  one  of  the  most  astute  politicians  in  the  Balkans,  and  this 
description  is  equally  true  of  King  Ferdinand  as  a  monarch. 
These  two  stated  definitely  Bulgaria's  price;  that  part  of  Ma- 
cedonia which  was  to  have  been  allowed  to  her  by  the  agreement 
which  bound  her  to  Serbia  and  Greece  during  the  first  Balkan 
War;  the  Valley  of  the  Struma,  including  the  port  of  Kavalla, 
that  part  of  Thrace  which  she  herself  had  taken  from  Turkey, 
and  the  southern  Dobruja,  the  whole  of  the  territory  Rumania 
had  filched  from  her  while  her  back  was  turned  during  the  two 
Balkan  wars. 

The  Entente  Powers  held  council  with  the  other  Balkan 
States,  each  of  which  had  taken  its  share  of  booty  from  Bulgaria. 
In  order  to  persuade  them  to  consent  to  Bulgaria's  terms,  they 
suggested  certain  compensations  for  the  concessions  they  were 
asked  to  make.  To  Serbia,  which,  in  spite  of  her  very  precarious 
situation  at  the  time,  was  very  averse  to  returning  any  part  of 
her  Macedonian  territory,  they  pointed  out  that  she  could  find 
compensation  in  adding  to  her  territory  Bosnia,  Herzegovina  and 
the  other  Slav  provinces  of  Austria,  where  the  population  was 
truly  Serb.  To  Rumania,  which  was  already  willing  to  meet  Bul- 
garia half  way,  they  promised  Transylvania  and  Bukowina.  To 
Greece,  which  had  done  less  and  gained  more  than  any  of  the 
other  states  during  the  two  Balkan  Wars  and  so  could  afford  to 
be  generous,  they  held  out  the  prospect  of  gaining  a  considerable 
area  in  Asia  Minor,  thickly  populated  by  Greeks. 

These  changes  naturally  all  depended  on  the  complete  defeat 
of  the  Teutonic  Powers,  but  Bulgaria  demanded  that  at  least 
some,  and  especially  Serbian  Macedonia,  should  be  handed  over 
to  her  at  once. 

This  latter  demand  brought  about  strong  opposition.  The 
)ther  Balkan  States  considered  that,  granting  even  that  all  these 
concessions  were  to  be  promised  to  Bulgaria,  she  should  not 
expect  their  fulfillment  until  she  had  earned  them  by  helping  to 
defeat  the  Teutonic  Powers. 

Venizelos,  the  premier  of  Greece,  and  probably  the  most  broad- 
minded  statesman  in  the  Balkans,  stated  that,  on  the  part  of 

874  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Greece,  concessions  to  Bulgaria  were  possible,  though,  as  de* 
veloped  later,  in  this  he  did  not  have  the  backing  of  the  King 
and  the  rest  of  the  governing  clique.  In  February  no  progress 
in  the  negotiations  had  been  made,  though  a  special  French  Com- 
mission, headed  by  General  Pau,  visited  all  the  Balkan  capitals 
and  tried  to  bring  about  a  mutual  agreement. 

At  about  that  time  another  important  military  event  occurred, 
especially  affecting  the  Balkans;  the  warships  of  the  Entente 
began  bombarding  the  forts  in  the  Dardanelles  and  it  seemed 
that  Constantinople  was  presently  to  fall  into  their  hands.  Not 
long  after  Venizelos  stated,  in  an  interview,  that  he  was  privy 
to  this  action  and  proposed  to  send  50,000  Greek  soldiers  to 
assist  the  Allies  by  a  land  attack  on  the  Turks. 

The  Greek  General  Staff,  however,  immediately  declined  to 
support  Venizelos.  Such  a  campaign,  it  declared,  was  impossible 
unless  Greece  first  had  strong  guarantees  that  Bulgaria  would 
not  take  the  opportunity  to  invade  Greek  Macedonia  and  fall 
on  the  flank  of  the  Greek  army  operating  against  the  Turks. 
Venizelos  thereupon  approached .  Bulgaria  and  was  told  that 
Bulgaria  would  remain  neutral  if  Greece  would  cede  most  of  her 
Macedonian  conquests,  which  would  include  Kavalla,  Drama,  and 
Serres,  which  stretch  so  provokingly  eastward  along  the  coast 
and  hold  Bulgaria  back  from  the  sea. 

Venizelos  attempted  to  compromise,  and  here  he  was  caught  be- 
tween two  obstacles.  Bulgaria  absolutely  refused  to  recede  one 
inch  from  her  demand ;  and,  on  the  other  hand,  the  Greek  govern- 
ing clique  suddenly  refused  to  consider  any  proposal  that  would 
mean  the  cession  of  any  territory  at  all  to  the  hated  Bulgars. 
What  probably  stiffened  the  opposition  of  the  other  members  of 
the  Greek  Government  to  the  Turkish  campaign  was  the  grow- 
ing suspicion  on  their  part  that  the  Allies  were  also  negotiating 
with  Italy  for  her  support.  Now  it  was  obvious  that  if  Italy 
was  to  fight  in  the  Near  East,  she  meant  to  demand  a  good  price. 
And  this  looked  bad  for  Greece.  Greece  and  Italy  had  already 
nearly  come  to  blows  over  their  clashing  interests  in  southern 
Albania,  yet  even  this  was  a  small  matter  compared  to  rivalry 
in  the  -^gean  and  Asia  Minor.    What  deepened  these  suspicions 


was  the  fact  that  the  Allies  refused  to  indicate  definitely  just 
what  territory  Greece  was  to  have  in  return  for  her  support 
against  the  Turks.  Their  promise  of  '^liberal  compensation"  was 
not  at  all  definite  enough.  Only  Venizelos  was  satisfied  with  this 
promise ;  he  was  in  favor  of  trusting  implicitly  to  Anglo-French 

To  bring  this  deadlock  to  a  conclusion  King  Constantine  called 
a  Royal  Council,  and  by  this  body  the  matter  was  thoroughly  dis- 
cussed during  the  first  few  days  of  March.  The  Council,  together 
with  the  king,  decided  against  supporting  the  Allies  actively  on 
such  terms.  On  the  morning  of  March  6  Venizelos  called  at  the 
British  legation  in  Athens  to  say  that  the  opposition  of  the 
king  made  it  impossible  to  fulfill  his  promise.  That  night  he 

The  fall  of  Venizelos  was,  naturally,  a  heavy  blow  to  the  Allies. 
He  was  succeeded  by  Gounaris,  an  ex-Minister  of  Finance,  who 
announced  his  policy  as  one  of  strict  neutrality.  Venizelos  was 
so  deeply  mortified  that  he  declared  that  he  would  withdraw 
permanently  from  public  life,  and  then  left  Greece. 

April,  1915,  opened  with  an  occurrence  that  seemed  to  throw 
a  strong  light  on  the  attitude  of  Bulgaria.  On  the  night  of  the 
second  day  of  the  month  a  large  force  of  Bulgar  Comitajis  made 
a  raid  over  the  southeastern  frontier  of  Serbia,  and,  after  at- 
tacking successfully  the  Serbian  outposts  and  blockhouses,  in  an 
attempt  to  cut  the  railroad,  by  which  Serbia  was  getting  war 
supplies  from  the  Allies,  they  were  repelled  by  the  Serbians, 
though  only  after  severe  fighting. 

Serbia  and  Greece  both  protested  loudly,  but  Bulgaria  affirmed 
that  she  had  had  nothing  to  do  with  the  matter. 

As  has  developed  since,  Bulgaria  had  by  this  time  definitely 
decided  to  strike  for  the  Teutonic  allies  when  the  right  moment 
should  come.  Already  back  in  January,  1912,  a  secret  treaty 
had  been  negotiated  between  Bulgaria  and  Germany.  This  was 
signed  a  little  later  by  Prince  Biilow  and  M.  Rizoff  at  Rome. 
There  were  more  reasons  than  one  for  keeping  this  secret.  For 
within  the  Bulgarian  Parliament  there  was  a  strong  opposition 
to  the  German  policy  of  Ferdinand  and  Radoslavov,  led  by 

376  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Malinoff,  chief  of  the  Democratic  party,  and  Stambulovski,  chief 
of  the  Agrarian  party,  an  opposition  so  bitter  and  determined 
that  the  king  had  good  reason  to  fear  an  open  revolution  should 
he  openly  declare  himself  for  the  Germans. 

On  May  29,  1915,  the  Allies  again  sent  a  note  to  Bulgaria, 
making  proposals  which  comprised  the  results  of  their  efforts  to 
obtain  concessions  from  the  other  Balkan  States.  On  June  15 
Radoslavov  sent  a  reply,  asking  for  further  information,  obvi- 
ously drawn  up  in  order  to  gain  time. 

Meanwhile,  on  June  11,  Venizelos  had  again  appeared  in 
Athens,  where  he  received  a  warm  welcome  from  the  populace, 
with  whom  he  was  the  prime  favorite.  Within  a  few  days  he 
resumed  the  leadership  of  the  Greek  Liberal  party  and,  at  a 
general  election,  which  was  held  shortly  after,  he  showed  a 
popular  majority  support  of  120  seats  in  the  Popular  Assembly, 
nothwithstanding  a  determined  opposition  made  by  his  oppo- 
nents. Before  the  Balkan  wars  the  Greek  Parliament  had  con- 
sisted of  180  members,  but  by  according  representation  to  the 
districts  in  Macedonia  annexed  after  the  wars  the  number  was 
brought  up  to  316.  Venizelos  and  his  policy  in  favor  of  the 
Allies  were  emphatically  indorsed  by  the  Greek  suffrage.  Natu- 
rally this  expression  of  the  people's  voice  was  a  smart  blow  at 
the  king  and  his  councillors.  On  the  other  hand,  they  were  en- 
couraged by  an  unfavorable  turn  that  was  now  taking  place  in 
the  military  operations  of  the  Allies. 

The  attack  on  the  Dardanelles  by  the  warships  had  been  a  de- 
cided failure.  Nor  were  the  operations  of  the  British  troops  on 
the  peninsula  of  Gallipoli  meeting  with  any  real  success.  The 
Austrians  and  the  Germans  had  driven  the  Russians  back  from 
the  Carpathians  and  had  retaken  Przemysl  and  Lemberg.  In 
fact,  the  situation  of  the  Austro-German  armies  had  now  become 
so  favorable  that  it  was  possible  for  the  Teutonic  allies  to  make 
proposals  to  the  Balkan  States  with  a  fair  chance  of  being 
listened  to. 

During  July,  1915,  Serbia  was  approached  by  Germany  with  an 
offer  of  a  separate  peace,  but  Serbia  would  not  even  consider  the 


On  July  8  Austria  delivered  a  note  to  Rumania,  through  the 
Austrian  Minister  in  Bucharest,  Count  Czemin,  which  con- 
tained two  sets  of  proposals.  One  was  contingent  upon  the 
continued  but  ''friendly''  neutrality  of  Rumania,  the  other  on 
her  active  participation  in  the  war  on  the  side  of  Austria- 

In  the  first  proposal  Rumania  was  promised  all  of  Bukowina 
south  of  the  Seret  River,  better  treatment  of  the  Rumanian  popu- 
lation of  Austrian  territory,  the  establishment  of  a  Rumanian 
university  in  Brasso,  large  admissions  of  Rumanians  into  the 
public  service  of  Hungary,  and  greater  liberty  of  administration 
to  the  Rumanian  churches  in  Austria. 

The  second  proposal  specified  that  Rumania  should  put  five 
army  corps  and  two  cavalry  divisions  at  the  disposal  of  the 
Austro-Hungarian  General  Staff  to  operate  against  the  Rus- 
sians. In  return^  Rumania  should  receive  all  of  Bukowina  up  to 
the  Pruth  River,  territory  along  the  north  bank  of  the  Danube 
up  to  the  Iron  Gate,  complete  autonomy  for  the  Rumanians  in 
Transylvania  and  all  of  Bessarabia  that  the  Rumanian  troops 
should  assist  in  conquering  from  the  Russians. 

Just  a  week  after  this  note  was  received  in  the  Rumanian 
capital.  Prince  Hohenlohe-Langenburg,  whose  wife  was  a  sister  of 
the  Queen  of  Rumania,  arrived  in  Bucharest  and  tried  to  induce 
King  Ferdinand  to  come  to  terms  with  Austria,  or  at  least  to 
allow  the  transportation  of  war  munitions  through  the  country 
to  the  Turks,  who  were  then  running  short  of  ammunition.  The 
king  refused  this  concession.  How  important  it  would  have 
been,  had  it  been  granted,  may  be  judged  from  the  many  efforts 
the  Germans  had  made  to  smuggle  material  down  to  Turkey. 
In  one  case  the  baggage  of  a  German  courier  traveling  to  Con- 
stantinople had  been  X-rayed  and  rifle  ammunition  had  been 
found.  Again,  cases  of  beer  had  been  opened  and  found  to  con- 
tain artillery  shells. 

Rumania,  however,  could  not  yet  make  up  her  mind  which 
was  going  to  be  the  winner.  She  accepted  neither  of  the  Aus- 
trian proposals,  and  protracted  making  any  definite  answer  as 
long  as  possible. 

378  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

There  was  another  reason  why  Rumania  wished  to  continue 
her  neutraHty  until  the  following  winter,  at  least.  The  harvest- 
ing of  her  great  wheat  crops  would  begin  soon,  and  this  wheat 
could,  as  had  been  done  the  previous  year,  be  sold  to  the  Germans 
and  Austrians  at  big  prices,  the  blockade  of  the  British  fleet 
having  already  produced  a  pressing  shortage  in  foodstuffs.  And 
then,  her  conscience  being  uneasy  regarding  her  robbery  of 
territory  from  Bulgaria,  she  must  also  be  quite  certain  how 
Bulgaria  was  going  to  turn. 

Having  failed  at  Bucharest,  the  German  agent.  Prince  Hohen- 
lohe-Langenburg,  moved  on  to  Sofia.  At  that  moment  King 
Ferdinand  of  Bulgaria  was  endeavoring  to  get  Turkey  to  sign 
A  treaty,  for  which  negotiations  had  been  going  on  secretly  for 
some  months,  by  which  Bulgaria  was  to  obtain  all  the  Turkish 
land  on  the  west  side  of  the  Maritza  River,  and  so  free  the 
Bulgarian  railroad  to  Dedeagatch  from  Turkish  interference. 
On  July  23  this  treaty  was  finally  signed,  and  Bulgaria  acquired 
a  full  right  of  way  along  the  line. 

Bulgaria  was  now  frankly  asking  bids  for  her  support  from 
both  sides.  In  an  interview  which  the  Premier,  Radoslavov, 
granted  to  the  correspondent  of  a  Budapest  newspaper  on 
August  3,  1915,  and  who  remarked  to  the  premier  that  it  was  at 
least  strange  for  a  nation  to  carry  on  such  negotiations  simul- 
taneously with  two  groups  of  powers,  he  replied : 

"It  is  these  negotiations  which  give  us  the  chance  to  make  a 
decision.  Our  country  seeks  only  her  own  advantages  and 
wishes  to  realize  her  rights.  We  have  decided  to  gain  these  in 
any  case.  The  only  question  is :  How  can  we  achieve  this  with  the 
least  sacrifices?  As  regards  the  internal  situation  of  Bulgaria,  I 
may  proudly  say  that  our  conditions  have  improved,  and  that 
everybody  in  the  country  looks  forward  to  the  great  national 
undertaking  we  are  about  to  embark  on  with  immense  joy  and 




rpHE  crystallization  of  popular  opinion  in  favor  of  intervention 
-L  kept  pace  with  the  trend  of  diplomatic  negotiations.  Italy, 
especially  the  northern  provinces,  was  a  great  beehive,  humming 
with  patriotic  fervor.  Evenings  in  almost  any  northern  town 
might  be  seen  companies  of  young  men  in  civilian  dress  march- 
ing in  companies  and  maneuvering  with  military  precision.  At 
first  the  organizers  of  these  "training  walks,"  as  they  were 
called,  maintained  reticence  regarding  their  purpose.  The 
youths,  they  said,  were  merely  undergoing  voluntary  training  to 
be  ready  "in  case  they  should  be  needed."  But  the  purpose  of 
these  volunteer  drills  was  unmistakable.  At  times,  when  the 
drill  grounds  were  rather  isolated,  the  marchers  would  burst  into 
patriotic  songs — the  hymn  of  the  Garibaldians,  or,  perhaps 
"Trieste  of  My  Heart."  Soon  the  neutralists  began  to  organize 
counterpreparations.  Encounters  between  bands  of  the  rival 
factions  became  increasingly  frequent,  in  fact  daily  occurrences. 
From  jeers  they  passed  to  scuffles,  in  which  missiles  and  clubs 
were  the  weapons.  As  a  rule  these  encounters  took  place  far 
enough  from  the  city  limits  to  avoid  interference  by  the  police, 
and  only  vague  reports  of  them  reached  the  main  body  of  home- 
loving  citizens. 

Milan  was  the  center  of  these  demonstrations.  During  April, 
1915,  the  Socialists  proclaimed  a  "general  strike,"  which  left  a 
large  part  of  the  working  population  idle  to  attend  gatherings 


380  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

addressed  by  the  neutralist  orator.  These  meetings  generally- 
wound  up  with  a  parade,  and  perhaps  a  hostile  demonstration  in 
front  of  the  office  of  some  interventionist  newspaper,  or  cheers 
outside  the  German  Consulate.  The  next  day  the  Piazza  would 
be  thronged  with  a  gathering  of  interventionists  wearing  the 
national  colors  entwined  with  the  flag  of  Trieste,  and,  perhaps, 
with  the  "honorable  red  shirt"  of  the  Garibaldians.  During  the 
period  just  before  the  entrance  of  Italy  into  the  war  these  rival 
processions  were  held  on  different  days  by  order  of  the  police, 
who  ruthlessly  broke  up  any  attempt  to  interfere  with  assemblies 
entitled  to  the  right  of  way.  As  the  war  party  began  to  gain, 
their  opponents  adopted  the  custom  of  attacking  the  demonstrants 
after  they  had  disbanded. 

As  it  was,  a  mob  attacked  the  Milan  branch  of  the  Siemens- 
Schuckert  works,  the  great  Berlin  electrical  machinery  factory, 
battered  in  the  main  entrance,  and  exchanged  shots  with  some 
young  German  employees  left  in  charge.  The  timely  arrival  of 
the  armed  police  stopped  this  riot,  and  removed  the  Germans  to 
safe  quarters. 

At  this  juncture,  or  before,  the  influence  of  the  "Garibaldi" 
movement  became  widely  apparent.  Early  in  the  war  the  Gari- 
baldians had  launched  a  movement  to  recognize  the  aid  received 
from  France  by  Italy  during  her  War  of  Independence.  A  special 
corps  of  Garibaldi  volunteers  was  enrolled  in  France,  and  its 
valiant  service  in  the  Alsace  campaign,  where  one  of  the  members 
of  the  Garibaldi  family  fell,  had  a  telling  effect  in  Italy.  Vol- 
unteers for  this  corps  at  once  sprang  up  from  all  parts  of  the 

On  May  10,  1915,  Germans  and  Austrians  throughout  Italy 
were  advised  by  their  consulates  to  leave  the  country.  The 
exodus  proceeded  rapidly,  and  during  the  next  ten  days  nearly 
all  the  citizens  of  the  two  Central  Powers  who  were  able  to  leave 
had  taken  refuge  in  Switzerland.  Italy  seemed  ripe  for  war; 
but  still  the  Government  delayed.  There  was  now  no  doubt  of 
the  popular  mind;  but  events  ouside  the  country  were  not  en- 
couraging. Perhaps  the  weightiest  of  these  deterring  factors 
was  news  of  the  Russian  retirement  in  the  north  and  informa- 


tion  reaching  the  Italian  Minister  of  War  that  the  Entente  Allies 
were  short  of  ammunition. 

Then  came  the  crisis  in  the  Government.  Baron  Sonnino's 
denunciation  of  the  Alliance  caused  a  change  in  the  attitude  of 
the  Austro-Hungarian  Foreign  Office.  Prince  von  Bulow  and 
the  Austrian  Ambassador,  Baron  von  Macchio,  were  authorized 
to  conclude  a  new  agreement  on  the  basis  of  further  Austrian 
concessions.  Sonnino  refused  to  accept  the  new  terms  and  the 
German  and  Austrian  representatives  played  their  last  trump. 
Baron  von  Macchio  telegraphed  to  Vienna  accusing  the  Italian 
Foreign  Minister  of  concealing  information  of  the  Austrian  con- 
cessions both  from  the  king  and  the  majority  of  the  cabinet. 
The  concessions  were  printed  and  circulated  widely  among  the 
people.  Signor  Giolitti,  Salandra's  predecessor,  and  at  one  time 
all  but  dictator  of  Italy,  hurried  to  Rome  and  rallied  his  fol- 
lowers. The  neutralists  hailed  him  as  the  man  to  save  Italy 
from  a  ruinous  war. 

Parliament  was  to  meet  on  May  20,  1915.  It  was  clear  that 
the  supporters  of  Giolitti,  in  majority  both  in  the  Senate  and 
the  Chamber  of  Deputies,  could,  if  they  chose,  overthrow  the 
Government.    Popular  anxiety  was  intense. 

On  the  evening  of  May  13,  1915,  came  the  announcement  that 
the  Salandra  ministry  had  resigned.  If  there  had  been  any 
doubt  of  the  state  of  things  throughout  Italy  up  to  that  point, 
this  news  cleared  the  situation.  The  whole  country  burst  into 
a  flame  of  indignation.  The  next  day  Italy  learned  for  the  first 
time  that  the  Triple  Alliance  had  been  denounced  early  in  the 

It  became  clear  that  whatever  the  fate  of  Salandra  and  his 
cabinet,  his  foreign  policy  was  bound  to  be  continued. 

On  May  15,  1915,  announcement  that  the  king  had  declined 
to  accept  Salandra's  resignation  caused  a  great  popular  out- 
burst of  joy.  In  Rome  an  immense  gathering  called  to  protest^ 
against  the  Giolittians  and  German  influence  was  transformed 
into  a  demonstration  of  triumph;  more  than  150,000  persons 
took  part  in  a  procession  a  mile  long  that  moved  from  the 
Piazza  del  Popolo  to  the  Quirinal. 

882  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

The  next  morning,  May  16,  1915,  there  was  nobody  in  Rome 
who  doubted  what  Italy  would  do.  That  day  Giolitti  left  Rome, 
and  his  departure  marked  the  end  of  his  active  influence  during 
the  opening  months  of  the  war.    His  party  crumpled. 

When  Parliament  met  on  May  20,  1915,  Salandra  received 
an  overwhelming  vote  of  confidence  in  the  passage  of  a  bill 
conferring  extraordinary  powers  upon  the  Government  in  the 
event  of  war.  Miles  north  of  Rome,  word  came  to  the  Austrian 
commanders,  working  feverishly  to  strengthen  their  forts  in 
the  fastnesses  of  the  Alps,  to  brace  themselves  for  the  assault. 



ON  the  night  of  May  24,  1915,  little  groups  of  the  Alpini, 
Italy's  famous  mountain  troops,  moved  silently.  They  passed 
from  San  Giorgio,  Cividale  and  Palmanova  on  the  eastern 
frontier,  from  Paluzza  and  San  Stefano  and  Pieve  on  the  north, 
from  Agordo,  Feltre  and  Asiago,  from  Brentino  and  Malcesine 
toward  Lake  Garda,  from  Garganano  the  western  shore  of 
the  lake  and  from  other  positions  all  along  the  mountain  frontier 
up  to  the  Stelvio  Pass. 

Marching  silently  and  in  single  file,  by  three  o'clock  in  the 
morning  of  May  25,  1915,  one  detachment  reached  a  deep  trench. 
"Our  frontiers,"  said  their  officers.  "We  advance  to  make  new 
ones.''  Then  began  a  long,  steep  climb  up  narrow  mountain 
paths,  through  snow  lying  in  patches  knee-deep,  and  through  a 
storm  of  sleet  and  rain  that  broke  along  the  Trentino  boundary 
before  dawn.  As  dawn  broke  they  hurled  themselves  upon  an 
Austrian  shelter  trench  excavated  the  autumn  before  on  the 
plateau.  It  was  empty.  The  enemy  had  retired  only  a  few  hours 
before.  The  camp-fire  ashes  were  still  warm.  As  the  sun  began 
to  throw  the  long  shadows  of  the  Alpine  peaks  to  the  west  Aus- 


trian  guns  crashed  out  their  first  salute  from  the  rocky  fortresses 
beyond.    Italy  and  Austria-Hungary  were  at  war. 

To  comprehend  the  task  before  the  Italian  army  it  is  neces- 
sary to  examine  the  Italian-Austrian  frontier.  Austria's  prob- 
lem was  one  only  of  defense.  Her  warning  had  been  ample 
and  when  war  was  declared  she  was  prepared  to  the  last  detail. 
Being  the  challenged  party  hers  was  the  choice  of  weapons,  and 
she  had  equipped  herself  with  an  almost  impregnable  line  of  for- 
tifications. The  grievance  was  Italy's,  and  hers  the  duty  of 
assault.    Every  advantage  of  position  lay  with  Austria. 

The  strategic  plan  of  the  Italian  generals  was  determined  by 
hard  geographical  facts.  The  Italo-Austrian  frontier  is  about 
;480  miles  long,  divided  naturally  into  three  sections.  On  the  west 
le  Austrian  province  of  Trentino  indents  Italian  territory  like 
[a  wedge;  next  comes  the  great  wall  of  the  Dolomites  and  the 
fCarnic  and  Julian  Alps ;  then,  on  the  east,  a  boundary  line  run- 
[ning  north  and  south  between  the  main  Alpine  chain  and  the 
[Adriatic  Sea.  Steep  mountain  heights  dominated  by  Austrian 
[troops  guarded  the  first  two  parts  of  this  frontier.  Only  on  the 
eastern  border,  from  Pontebba  to  the  Adriatic  was  Italian  offen- 
[sive  on  a  large  scale  at  all  feasible;  but  before  offensive  opera- 
tions could  be  started  here  it  was  necessary  for  the  Italians  to 
fclose  the  open  gates  to  the  north. 

Here  in  the  north  lay  Italy's  problem  at  the  opening  of  the 

^,war ;  and  here  her  armies  confronted  an  almost  impossible  task. 

[in  a  word,  they  had  to  fight  uphill.    A  salient,  such  as  that  formed 

fhy  the  Trentino,  may  offer  dangers  for  the  side  that  holds  it — 

[an  example  of  which  is  the  Russian  position  in  Poland  at  the 

[opening  of  the  war ;  but  the  Trentino  situation  was  quite  unlike 

that  in  Poland.    The  sides  of  the  Trentino  were  buttressed  with 

^mountains.     The  most  tempting  avenue  of  invasion  was  the 

^valley  of  the  Adige  River.    An  enemy  advancing  by  this  route 

["Would  find  himself  confronted  with  the  strongly  fortified  town 

)f  Trent,  which  long  resisted  attacks  from  Venice  in  the  Middle 

Lges.    Having  forced  his  way  past  Trent  the  enemy  would  be 

[in  a  wilderness  of  lateral  valleys  with  the  main  ridge  of  the 

Alpine  chain,  at  the  Brenner,  still  before  him. 

^  25— War  St.  3 

384  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

On  the  western  side  of  the  Trentino  is  the  lofty  Stelvio  Pass, 
leading  from  the  Upper  Adige  to  the  valley  of  Adda.  This  pass 
is  9,000  feet  high  and  its  narrow  defiles  were  easily  defended. 
To  the  south  lies  the  pass  of  Tonale  over  which  runs  the  road 
from  Noce  to  the  Oglio,  but  this  offers  similar  difficulties.  The 
road  pass  of  Comelle,  close  to  Lake  Garda,  is  too  narrow  for  any 
considerable  force.  On  the  eastern  side  of  the  salient  conditions 
for  invasion  are  still  worse.  The  railway  from  Venice  to 
Innsbruck  crosses  the  Valsugana  at  Tezze,  but  the  Brenta  valley 
through  which  it  runs  is  a  difficult  road  to  Trent.  Summed  up, 
the  salient  of  the  Trentino  was  an  ideal  position  for  those  who 
held  it,  both  offensive  and  defensive.  The  few  breaches  by 
which  invasion  could  come  were  a  source  of  strength  rather 
than  weakness,  because  they  compelled  attack  from  the  Italian 
plain  to  be  made  on  divergent  lines  from  different  bases. 

The  second  part  of  the  frontier  is  the  ramparts  of  the 
Dolomite  and  Camic  ranges  through  which  an  important  offen- 
sive was  possible  for  neither  belligerent.  The  main  pass,  at 
Ampezzo,  5,000  feet  high,  makes  a  sharp  detour  toward  the  west 
to  circumvent  the  mass  of  Cristallo,  and  here  the  road  is  a 
narrow  defile  commanded  by  a  hundred  points  of  danger.  The 
adjacent  passes  of  Misurina  and  the  Monte  Croce  are  no  better, 
and  the  defiles  to  the  east  contain  little  more  than  bridle  paths. 
The  lowest  pass,  which  leads  from  the  valley  of  the  Fella  by 
Pontebba  to  the  upper  streams  of  the  Drave  and  carries  the  rail- 
way from  Venice  to  Vienna  is  only  2,615  feet  high  at  its  greatest 
elevation.  Although  this  is  the  easiest  of  the  great  routes 
through  the  mountain  barrier,  it  is  still  narrow  and  difficult. 
A  modern  army  given  the  advantages  of  time  and  preparation 
should  be  able  to  close  and  hold  it  with  ease. 

Although  the  maps  show  few  natural  difficulties  on  the  third 
section  of  the  frontier  to  compare  with  those  farther  west,  it  is 
not  the  obvious  avenue  of  attack  a  hasty  survey  would  seem  to 
suggest.  It  is  only  twenty  miles  wide  and  behind  it  is  the  line 
of  the  River  Isonzo  with  hills  along  its  eastern  bank.  The  upper 
part  of  this  stream,  above  Salcana,  is  a  ravine ;  then  comes  six 
miles  of  comparatively  level  ground  in  front  of  Gorizia;  then 


the  hills  begin  again  and  sweep  round  to  the  seacoast  by  Mon- 
falcone.  What  this  front  lacks  in  natural  defenses  had  been 
amply  supplied  before  the  war  opened  by  Austria  with  artillery 
and  men.  Toward  this  narrow  twenty-mile  stretch,  and 
especially  toward  the  plain  before  Gorizia,  tended,  in  a  sense, 
however,  all  the  operations  of  the  Italian  strategists.  The 
engagements  fought  during  the  first  of  the  Italo-Austrian 
struggle  all  had  their  bearing  upon  the  great  offensive  launched 
later  against  Gorizia. 

But  the  natural  lay  of  the  land  was  by  no  means  the  only  con- 
sideration with  which  the  rival  generals  had  to  deal.  In  respect 
to  lateral  communications  Italy  had  the  advantage.  Behind  her 
invading  armies  stretched  an  elaborate  system  of  railways 
through  her  northern  provinces.  Austria  had  a  railway  running 
through  the  whole  curve  of  the  frontier,  but  owing  to  the  dif- 
ficulty of  breaking  through  from  the  hill  valleys  this  system 
had  few  feeders.  This  lack  of  branch  lines  meant  that  Austria 
had  to  concentrate  any  offensive  at  certain  definite  places — 
Trent,  Tarvis,  and  Gorizia.  Italy  aimed  at  these  points  and  one 
more,  Franzensfeste,  the  junction  of  the  Pusterthal  line  with 
the  railway  from  Innsbruck  to  Trent.  If  she  could  take  this 
point  she  could  cut  Austria's  communications  in  the  whole 
Trentino  salient.  But  Franzensfeste  was  the  most  difficult  of 
any  of  these  local  points  for  Italy  to  reach,  for  south  and  east  of 
it  lay  the  bristling  system  of  the  Dolomites. 

The  successive  revelations  of  Italian  strategy  during  the  first 
months  of  the  war  brought  few  surprises.  Austria  had  her 
hands  full  in  the  Carpathians  just  then  and  was  unable  to  take 
advantage  of  the  opportunities  for  swift  offensive  which  her 
frontier  positions  offered.  It  was  a  foregone  conclusion  that  the 
first  advance  would  come  from  the  Italian  side  and  the  direction 
of  that  movement  was  not  long  in  doubt.  Its  objective  was 
Trieste,  the  Austrian  peninsula,  and  the  hills  of  Styria  which 
sweep  to  Vienna.  There  lay  the  country  where  modem  armies 
could  maneuver.  At  the  same  time  the  whole  northern  boundary 
must  be  watched  to  prevent  Austrian  forces  from  the  Trentino 
cutting  the  communications  of  the  invader  and  attacking  him 

386  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

in  the  rear.  Therefore  General  Cadoma,  the  Italian  commander 
in  chief,  resolved  to  attack  at  all  the  salient  points.  Such  a  plan 
led  to  a  series  of  movements — toward  Trent,  across  the  Dolomite 
passes  against  the  Pusterthal  railway,  at  the  Pontebba  Pass, 
and  across  the  Julian  Alps  to  threaten  the  line  between  Tarvis 
and  Gorizia.  Meanwhile  the  main  Italian  army  was  to  strike 
at  the  Isonzo  and  the  road  to  Trieste. 

The  same  conditions  which  made  the  Austrian  frontier  lines 
easy  to  defend  also  would  have  given  the  Central  Power  a  big 
advantage  in  offensive  operations,  but  for  excellent  reasons  the 
Austrian  staff  did  not  attack.  In  the  first  place,  Austria  lacked 
men.  The  Teutonic  war  councils  concluded  that  Austro-Hun- 
garian  troops  were  of  more  value  in  the  great  drive  then  in 
progress  against  the  Russians  than  they  would  have  been  in 
offensive  operations  against  the  cities  of  the  northern  Italian 
plains.  Had  the  Austrians  debouched  from  their  mountain 
strongholds  and  forced  the  Italians  to  concentrate  against  them 
in  Italian  territory,  as  they  undoubtedly  could  have  done,  the 
benefits  of  such  an  enterprise  from  the  standpoint  of  the  alliance 
powers  would  have  been  small  in  proportion  to  the  risks.  Only 
a  combined  drive  by  both  Austria  and  Germany,  it  is  believed, 
could  have  gained  any  telling  advantage  in  northern  Italy;  and 
Italy,  it  must  be  remembered,  had  not  declared  war  on  Germany. 
Ensconced  in  their  mountain  fastnesses,  the  Austrians  believed 
they  could  maintain  a  successful  defensive  indefinitely.  Then, 
after  the  Italian  armies  had  exhausted  themselves  beating 
against  the  mountain  barrier,  an  opportunity  might  arise  for 
Austrian  reprisals.  At  the  time  few  believed  that  Italy  would 
long  be  able  to  maintain  her  attitude  of  neutrality  regarding 
Germany — an  opinion,  by  the  way,  which  was  not  supported  by 
the  developments  of  the  first  year  of  the  war. 

The  Austrians  had  months  in  which  to  prepare,  and  they  had 
made  good  use  of  their  time.  The  natural  difficulties  confront- 
ing an  Italian  assault  had  been  enormously  increased  by  trenches 
of  steel  and  concrete.  The  Austrian  engineers  had  connected 
their  elaborate  systems  of  wire  entanglements  with  high-power 
electric  stations,  and  dug  mines  at  all  vulnerable  points.  Heavy 


guns  had  been  moved,  at  great  expenditure  of  labor,  to  the 
frontier  forts  and  rails  laid  on  which  to  move  them  from  place 
to  place.  The  broken  nature  of  the  ground  afforded  ideal  oppor- 
tunities for  the  concealment  of  artillery  positions.  It  is  safe  to 
say  that  nowhere  in  the  whole  theatre  of  the  Great  War  was 
there  a  line  better  adapted  by  nature  and  equipped  by  man  for 
purposes  of  defensive  warfare.  The  Austrian  Archduke  Eugene, 
who  was  in  charge  of  the  Italian  operations,  revealed  his  plan 
of  campaign  during  the  first  few  days  after  the  beginning  of 
hostilities.  His  aim  was  to  risk  nothing  until  Field  Marshal 
von  Mackensen  had  finished  his  operations  in  Galicia,  where 
Austria's  best  troops  were  fighting  with  their  German  allies. 
To  meet  the  Italians